Author(s): Butler SA, Luttoo J, Freire MO, Abban TK, Borrelli PT,
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Abstract Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced by trophoblast cells throughout pregnancy, and gene expression studies have indicated that hCG-beta subunit (hCGβ) expression is active at the 2 blastomere stage. Here, we investigated the qualitative hCG output of developing embryos in culture and hCG isoforms expressed in the secretome as a novel sensitive method for detecting hCG. Culture media was collected from the culture plates of 118 embryos in culture (including controls and embryos at different stages of culture) from 16 patients undergoing routine fertility treatment. The hCGβ was detectable in media from 2 pronuclear (2PN) stage embryos through to the blastocyst stage. The hCGβ was absent in 1PN and arrested embryos as well as all media controls. Prior to hatching, hyperglycosylated hCG (hCGh) was observed selectively in 3PN embryos, but after hatching, along with hCG, became the dominant hCG molecule observed. We have reported at the 2PN stage the earliest evidence of hCGβ expression in embryos. There is a suggestion this may be indicative of quality in early embryos, and hCGh seen at the pronuclear stage may suggest triploid abnormality. The dominance of hCG, and hCGh expression, seen after blastocyst hatching may be indicative of potential implantation success. Thus, hCG isoforms have potential roles as biomarkers of embryo viability for embryo/blastocyst transfer.
This article was published in Reprod Sci
and referenced in Journal of Glycobiology