Levels of caspase-3 and histidine-rich glycoprotein in the embryo secretome as biomarkers of good-quality day-2 embryos and high-quality blastocysts

Autoři: Helena Kaihola aff001;  Fatma Gülen Yaldir aff002;  Therese Bohlin aff003;  Raghad Samir aff004;  Julius Hreinsson aff001;  Helena Åkerud aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden aff001;  Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden aff002;  Fertility Unit, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden aff003;  Livio Fertility Centre Falun, Falun, Sweden aff004;  GynHälsan Fertility Clinic, Minerva Fertility, Uppsala, Sweden aff005
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226419


Morphological assessment at defined developmental stages is the most important method to select viable embryos for transfer and cryopreservation. Timing of different developmental stages in embryo development has been shown to correlate with its potential to develop into a blastocyst. However, improvements in pregnancy rates by using time-lapse techniques have been difficult to validate scientifically. Therefore, there is a need for new methods, preferably non-invasive methods based on metabolomics, genomics and proteomics, to improve the evaluation of embryo quality even further. The aim of this study was to investigate if different levels of caspase-3 and histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG), secreted by the embryo into the culture media, can be used as biomarkers of embryo quality. In this study, a total of 334 samples of culture media were collected from in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments at three different clinics. Protein analysis of the culture media was performed using multiplex proximity extension protein analysis to detect levels of caspase-3 and HRG in the embryo secretome. Protein levels were compared in secretome samples from high- and low-quality blastocysts and embryos that became arrested during development. Correlation between protein levels and time to morula formation was also analyzed. Furthermore, protein levels in secretomes from day-2 cultured embryos were compared on the basis of whether or not pregnancy was achieved. The results showed that caspase-3 levels were lower in secretomes from high-quality vs. low-quality blastocysts and those that became arrested (p ≤ 0.05 for both). In addition, higher HRG levels correlated with a shorter time to morula formation (p ≤ 0.001). Caspase-3 levels were also lower in secretomes from day-2 cultured embryos resulting in a pregnancy vs. those that did not (p ≤ 0.05). Furthermore, it was shown that caspase-3 might be used as a marker for predicting potential success rate after transfer of day-2 cultured embryos, where a caspase-3 cutoff level of 0.02 gave a prediction probability of 68% (p = 0.038). In conclusion, in future prediction models, levels of caspase-3 and HRG might be used as potential markers of embryo quality, and secreted caspase-3 levels could to some extent predict the outcome after transfer of day-2 cultured embryos.

Klíčová slova:

Apoptosis – Biomarkers – Blastocysts – Culture media – Embryos – Pregnancy – Embryo transfer


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