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Minerva Biotecnologica 2009 September;21(3):161-71


lingua: Inglese

Investigations on sHLA-G and sICAM-1 levels in human oocytes and embryos

Borgatti M. 1, Rizzo R. 2

1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy 2 Department of Experimental and Diagnostic Medicine, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy


Successful embryo formation and implantation are critical steps during in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. Analysis of the embryo morphology in still one of the most common approaches of selection in assisted reproduction, with the obvious drawback of being to some extent subjective. Accordingly, there is urgent need of biochemical markers facilitating the prediction of successful oocyte fertilization and embryo implantation during IVF procedure. As reported in literature, the only biochemical marker so far proposed for the selection of the most promising embryo obtained by IVF is represented by the release of in vitro cultured human embryo (24-, 48- and 72-hours embryo) of soluble histocompatibility leukocyte antigen-G(sHLA-G) molecules. On the contrary, no suitable markers were available for the oocyte selection. Recently, Bio-plex analysis has allowed the quantification of sHLA-G levels in cumulus-oocyte complex (COCs) obtained from 42 women and maturated by “in vitro maturation procedure”. The results demonstrate detectable amounts of sHLA-G molecules ranging from 300 to 800 pg/mL in 14/73 (19%) COCs that generated mature oocytes and complete absence of detectable sHLA-G antigens in the supernatants of COCs that corresponded to immature oocytes. The detection of sHLA-G molecules in the COC culture supernatants of matured oocytes could be proposed as a marker to identify gametes with higher functionality. Using Bio-plex assay, another molecule has been identified in culture supernatants of human in vitro maturated oocytes and in vitro fertilized embryos: soluble inter-cellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1). The sICAM-1 release is very high in immature oocytes, decrease in mature oocytes and become even lower in in vitro fertilized embryos. Therefore sICAM-1 could be a biochemical marker for oocyte maturation and grading. In conclusion, these two molecules could be proposed, in addition to morphological approaches, as non-invasive markers to help assisted reproduction procedures in the selection of matured oocytes and fertilized embryos.

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