Potential of inner cell mass outgrowth and amino acid turnover as markers of quality in the in vitro fertilization laboratory

Inner cell mass outgrowth is a more sensitive bioassay than blastocyst development and sperm motility for detecting formaldehyde. Evaluation of culture media metabolome has potential as a sensitive QC assay.


Ravi P. Gada, M.D., Gaurang S. Daftary, M.D., David L. Walker, M.S., Jean M. Lacey, B.A., Dietrich Matern, M.D., Ph.D., Dean E. Morbeck, Ph.D.

Vol 98, Issue 4, Pages 863-869.e1



To compare sensitivity of inner cell mass (ICM) outgrowth assay and analysis of culture media amino acid turnover to the sensitivity of the human sperm motility assay (HSMA) and murine embryo assay (MEA) for detection of formaldehyde toxicity.


Prospective in vitro study.


University hospital-based infertility center.


Murine embryos.


HSMA, MEA, and ICM outgrowth assays were performed with media containing 0–64 uM concentrations of formaldehyde. These assays were compared to dynamics of amino acid turnover in culture media.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

The lowest concentration of formaldehyde in culture media detected by each quality control assay.


Sperm forward progression, but not motility, detected formaldehyde at a concentration of 32 uM. Sperm motility index identified formaldehyde toxicity at 64 uM whereas blastocyst rates in the MEA were affected at 32 uM formaldehyde. Evaluation of ICM using outgrowth and grade detected 16 uM formaldehyde. Leucine turnover in culture media detected 64 uM formaldehyde in the amino acid assay.


Inner cell mass outgrowth is a more sensitive bioassay than MEA and HSMA for the detection of formaldehyde in culture media. Amino acid metabolism may also provide a sensitive quality control measure for detection of formaldehyde.

Category: Uncategorized · Tags: formaldehyde, Inner Cell Mass (ICM), IVF quality control, Murine Embryo Assay (MEA)

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(12)00647-4/fulltext