A microfluidic system supports single mouse embryo culture leading to full-term development

Telma Cristina Esteves, Fleur van Rossem, Verena Nordhoff, Stefan Schlatt, Michele Boiani, Severine le Gac

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    35 Citations (Scopus)
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    The present study demonstrates the feasibility of application of a microfluidic system for in vitro culture of pre-implantation mouse embryos, with subsequent development to full-term upon embryo transfer. Specifically, embryos cultured in groups in nL volume chambers achieve pre-implantation developmental rates up to 95% (4.5 days after fertilization), while birth rates upon transfer in utero are comparable to conventional droplet culture (30%). Importantly, while culturing single embryos in conventional microliter droplets hampers full-term development, mouse embryos cultured individually in a confined microfluidic environment achieve normal birth rates (29–33%) with normal morphology. Furthermore, the refreshment of culture media (dynamic culture) during pre-implantation in the microfluidic system does not impair development to term. These results deliver great promise to studies in developmental biology and human assisted reproductive technologies (ART), as nanoliter culture volumes provided by microfluidics will (1) allow online screening of physical and chemical culture parameters and (2) facilitate the acquisition of physiological data at the single embryo level – essential requisites for the determination of optimal embryo culture conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26451
    Number of pages8
    JournalRSC advances
    Issue number48
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2013


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