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Fertil Steril. 2011 Aug;96(2):422-427.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.05.049. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Identification of apolipoprotein A1 in the human embryonic secretome.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.



To identify factors secreted by the human embryo and correlate levels with embryo morphology and pregnancy outcome.


A laboratory-based study of human embryo protein synthesis and secretion and a retrospective analysis of spent embryo culture media as it relates to pregnancy outcome.


University-based academic IVF program.


IVF patients who had donated cryopreserved human pronuclear-stage embryos. Patients undergoing fresh IVF cycles resulting in a blastocyst transfer who donated spent media drops.


In vitro embryo culture and collection of spent media.


Protein analysis and identification by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, ApoA1 quantification by ELISA, and mRNA analysis by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.


By protein gel electrophoresis, apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) was increased in the culture media from good-quality blastocysts (n = 6 embryos) compared to either cleavage-arrested embryos (n = 6 embryos) or poor-quality blastocysts (n = 6 embryos) using spent media from culture days 4 and 5, respectively. Apolipoprotein A1 concentrations were 23.1% greater in day 5 spent culture media from good-grade blastocysts (n = 30) when compared to poor-grade embryos (n = 30). However, in a group of patients (n = 20) with transfer of two good-quality blastocysts, ApoA1 levels from day 5 spent media did not correlate with embryo implantation and pregnancy. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction confirmed the presence of ApoA1 mRNA transcripts in human blastocysts.


Apolipoprotein A1 is produced by human preimplantation embryos, and increased levels are present in spent culture media containing blastocysts of higher morphologic grade. These results suggest a role for lipoproteins in early embryologic development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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