Comparison of gene expression in fresh and frozen-thawed human preimplantation embryos

Shaw, Lisa orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6226-6467, Sneddon, S. F., Brison, D. R. and Kimber, S. J. (2012) Comparison of gene expression in fresh and frozen-thawed human preimplantation embryos. Reproduction, 144 (5). pp. 569-582. ISSN 1470-1626

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Identification and characterisation of differentially regulated genes in preimplantation human embryonic development are required to improve embryo quality and pregnancy rates in IVF. In this study, we examined expression of a number of genes known to be critical for early development and compared expression profiles in individual preimplantation human embryos to establish any differences in gene expression in fresh compared to frozen–thawed embryos used routinely in IVF. We analysed expression of 19 genes by cDNA amplification followed by quantitative real-time PCR in a panel of 44 fresh and frozen–thawed human preimplantation embryos. Fresh embryos were obtained from surplus early cleavage stage embryos and frozen–thawed embryos from cryopreserved 2PN embryos. Our aim was to determine differences in gene expression between fresh and frozen–thawed human embryos, but we also identified differences in developmental expression patterns for particular genes. We show that overall gene expression among embryos of the same stage is highly variable and our results indicate that expression levels between groups did differ and differences in expression of individual genes was detected. Our results show that gene expression from frozen–thawed embryos is more consistent when compared with fresh, suggesting that cryopreserved embryos may represent a reliable source for studying the molecular events underpinning early human embryo development.

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