Mouse strain and quality control testing: improved sensitivity of the mouse embryo assay with embryos from outbred mice

Embryos from outbred mice are sensitive to in vitro toxins and may provide a more reliable measure of quality for undefined culture components such as mineral oil.

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Zaraq Khan, M.B.B.S., Heather S. Wolff, M.D., Jolene R. Fredrickson, M.S., David L.Walker, M.S., Gaurang S. Daftary, M.D., Dean E. Morbeck, Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 3, Pages 847-854.e2, 1 March 2013



To determine the relative sensitivities of embryos from different strains of mice to in vitro stress.


Laboratory experiment with embryos from different mouse strains


University hospital-based fertility clinic.




Fresh one-cell embryos from outbred (CF1), inbred (FVB), F1 hybrid (B6/CBA) and cryopreserved F2 hybrid embryos (bcl/B6 x B6/bcl) were compared in a mouse embryo assay (MEA) using six doses of each of three in vitro stressors. Treatments included cumene hydroperoxide (CH) in mineral oil, Triton X-100 (TX-100) in media, and hyperosmolality.

Main Outcome Measures:

Blastocyst rate (BR) at 96 hours was considered the primary outcome. All studies were conducted in triplicate; data were analyzed with Chi Square analysis based on fitting a logistic regression model.


Both CH and TX-100 affected blastocyst formation in the outbred strain at concentrations that were less than half of the concentration that affected the other strains. Total number of cells was affected by treatments in all strains.


CF1 embryos are genetically diverse and more sensitive to toxins than either inbred or hybrid mouse embryos. Outbred embryos provide an additional tool for effective quality control testing.

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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.