Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 293–303 | Cite as

New insights into human pre-implantation metabolism in vivo and in vitro

  • Yves Ménézo
  • Isabelle Lichtblau
  • Kay Elder


The metabolism of pre-implantation embryos is far from being understood. In human embryos, the two major obstacles are the scarcity of material, for obvious ethical reasons, and complete absence of a relevant in vivo control model. Over-extrapolation from animal species to human systems adds to the complexity of the problem. Removal of some metabolites from media has been proposed, such as glucose and essential amino acids, on the basis of their pseudo “toxicity”. In contrast, addition of some compounds such as growth factors has been proposed in order to decrease apoptosis, which is a natural physiologic process. These suggestions reflect the absence of global knowledge, and in consequence mask reality. Some aspects of metabolism have been ignored, such as lipid metabolism. Others are seriously underestimated, such as oxidative stress and its relationship to imprinting/methylation, of paramount importance for genetic regulation and chromosomal stability. It has become increasingly obvious that more studies are essential, especially in view of the major extension of ART activities worldwide.


Human embryo Metabolism Imprinting Oxidative stress Culture medium 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire CLEMENTParisFrance
  2. 2.London Fertility AssociatesHarley StreetLondonUK
  3. 3.Clinique de la MuetteParisFrance
  4. 4.Bourn Hall ClinicCambridgeUK

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