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Metabolism. 1993 Sep;42(9):1077-80.

Dichloroacetic acid accelerates initial development of 2-cell murine embryos in vitro.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.


Preimplantation embryos up to the 8-cell stage of development use lactate and pyruvate but not glucose or Krebs cycle intermediates to support growth, development, and cleavage. The dominant effect of dichloroacetic acid (DCA) is the irreversible stimulation of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) activity, thus accelerating the oxidative metabolism of pyruvate and lactate. To test the hypothesis that early induction of oxidative metabolism in 2-cell murine embryos accelerates preimplantation embryo cleavage rates, female B6C3F1 mice at 6 to 8 weeks of age were superovulated with pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and mated. All 2-cell stage embryos were randomly assigned to culture media with or without 130 micrograms/mL DCA. The developmental stage of all embryos was then noted every 24 hours for a total of 72 hours. Chi-square analysis and the method of average rank sum were used to compare the distribution of embryos at each observation point. At 24 hours, DCA-exposed embryos had achieved an advanced stage of growth and development relative to controls (average rank sum, P = .026; chi-square distribution, P = .047). Subsequently, at 48 and 72 hours, neither the average rank sum nor the chi-square distribution was different. Our data suggest that DCA accelerates early growth and development of murine embryos before implantation, possibly through the early induction of oxidative metabolism.

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