Metabolic profiling of follicular fluid and plasma from natural cycle in vitro fertilization patients A pilot study

This preliminary study highlights the potential for nuclear magnetic resonance–based metabolite profiling of FF and blood plasma to examine changes across menstrual stages and in the pursuit of biomarkers to predict fertility treatment outcome.

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Cassey McRae, M.Chem., N. Ellissa Baskind, M.B.Ch.B., Nicolas M. Orsi, Ph.D., Vinay Sharma, F.R.C.O.G., Julie Fisher, Ph.D.

Volume 98, Issue 6, Pages 1449-1457.e6, December 2012



To investigate changes in follicular fluid (FF) and plasma composition during the follicular and periovulatory phases of the menstrual cycle in patients undergoing assisted conception, using proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy–based metabolite profiling.


A pilot prospective laboratory study.


Assisted conception clinic in a university hospital.


Ten women undergoing natural-cycle (NC) in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with either male factor subfertility or unexplained subfertility.


FF and plasma were collected during the mid-follicular phase or at the LH surge and at the time of oocyte collection.

Main Outcome Measure:

1H-NMR spectroscopy was performed on the fluids and the metabolic profiles compared across the phases with the use of principal components analysis (PCA).


LH surge FF resembled peri-ovulatory FF more than mid-follicular FF, with higher levels of lactate and pyruvate, and lower glucose. Peri-ovulatory plasma contained higher levels of glucose and acetate and lower glycoprotein, trimethylamine (TMA) and glycine compared to mid-follicular and LH surge plasma.


NMR-based metabolite profiling of FF and plasma has potential for identifying changes across menstrual stages, studying the impact of exogenous hCG administration, and in the pursuit of biomarkers to predict fertility treatment outcome.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.