Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arch Med Res. 2001 Nov-Dec;32(6):619-26.

The influence of growth factors on the development of preimplantation mammalian embryos.

Author information

  • 1Unidad de Investigación en Medicina Reproductiva, Hospital de Gineco Obstetricia Luis Castelazo Ayala, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Mexico City, Mexico.


The development of the preimplantation mammalian embryo from a fertilized egg to a blastocyst capable of implanting in the uterus is a complex process. Cell division must be carefully programmed. The embryonic genome must be activated at the appropriate stage of development, and the pattern of gene expression must be carefully coordinated for the initiation of the correct program of differentiation. Cell fates must be chosen to establish specific cell types such as the inner cell mass and the trophectoderm, which give rise to the embryo proper and the placenta, respectively. This review summarizes recent findings concerning the influence of growth factors on the development of preimplantation mammalian embryos. Maternal factors secreted into the lumen of the female reproductive tract as well as substances synthesized by the developing embryo itself help to regulate this process. Studies of embryos in culture and investigations using homologous recombination to create embryos and animals null for specific genes have enabled the identification of several growth factors that appear essential for preimplantation mammalian embryo development. Some of the factors are required maternal factors; others are embryo-derived autocrine and paracrine factors. Studies using molecular biology are beginning to identify differences in the patterns of genes expressed by naturally derived embryos and those developing in culture. The knowledge gained from studies on growth factors, media, embryonic development, and gene expression should help improve culture conditions for embryos and will provide for safer outcomes from assisted reproductive procedures in human and animal clinics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk