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Hum Reprod. 2004 Dec;19(12):2919-26. Epub 2004 Sep 30.

Embryotrophic factor-3 from human oviductal cells enhances proliferation, suppresses apoptosis and stimulates the expression of the beta1 subunit of sodium-potassium ATPase in mouse embryos.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.



Embrytrophic factor-3 (ETF-3) from human oviductal cells enhanced the development of mouse preimplantation embryos. This report studied the embryotrophic mechanisms of the molecule.


Mouse embryos were incubated with ETF-3 for 24 h at different stages of development. ETF-3 treatment between 96 and 120 h post-HCG increased the cell count of blastocysts, whilst treatment between 72 and 96 h post-HCG enhanced the expansion and hatching of the blastocysts. ETF-3 increased the cell number of the embryos by suppressing apoptosis and increasing proliferation as determined by TUNEL and bromodeoxyuridine uptake assays, respectively. Real-time quantitative PCR showed that the in vivo developed and ETF-3-treated blastocysts had a significantly higher mRNA copy number of Na/K-ATPase-beta1, but not of hepsin, than that of blastocysts cultured in medium alone. The former gene was associated with cavitation of blastocysts while the latter was related to hatching of blastocyst. The beneficial effect of ETF-3 on blastocyst hatching was also seen when ETF-3-supplemented commercially available sequential culture medium for human embryo culture was used to culture mouse embryos.


ETF-3 improves embryo development by enhancing proliferation, suppressing apoptosis and stimulating expression of genes related to blastocyst cavitation. Supplementating human embryo culture medium with ETF-3 may improve the success rate in clinical assisted reproduction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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