Pallisco R, Lazzarino G, Bilotta G, Marroni F, Mangione R, Saab MW, Brundo MV, Pittalà A, Caruso G, Capoccia E, Lazzarino G, Tavazzi B, Bilotta P, Amorini AM. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jan 3;24(1):890.

Pubmed: doi: 10.3390/ijms24010890


Notwithstanding the great improvement of ART, the overall rate of successful pregnancies from implanted human embryos is definitely low. The current routine embryo quality assessment is performed only through morphological criteria, which has poor predictive capacity since only a minor percentage of those in the highest class give rise to successful pregnancy. Previous studies highlighted the potentiality of the analysis of metabolites in human embryo culture media, useful for the selection of embryos for implantation. In the present study, we analyzed in blind 66 human embryo culture media at 5 days after in vitro fertilization with the aim of quantifying compounds released by cell metabolism that were not present as normal constituents of the human embryo growth media, including purines, pyrimidines, nitrite, and nitrate. Only some purines were detectable (hypoxanthine and uric acid) in the majority of samples, while nitrite and nitrate were always detectable. When matching biochemical results with morphological evaluation, it was found that low grade embryos (n = 12) had significantly higher levels of all the compounds of interest. Moreover, when matching biochemical results according to successful (n = 17) or unsuccessful (n = 25) pregnancy, it was found that human embryos from the latter group released higher concentrations of hypoxanthine, uric acid, nitrite, and nitrate in the culture media. Additionally, those embryos that developed into successful pregnancies were all associated with the birth of healthy newborns. These results, although carried out on a relatively low number of samples, indicate that the analysis of the aforementioned compounds in the culture media of human embryos is a potentially useful tool for the selection of embryos for implantation, possibly leading to an increase in the overall rate of ART.