Fatty acids present in commercial albumin preparations differentially affect development of murine embryos before and during implantation

Embryo Biology

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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 1, P50-58, FEBRUARY 01, 2021


Deirdre M. Logsdon, M.S., Alison F. Ermisch, B.Sc., Jason R. Herrick, Ph.D., John Becker, B.A., Linxing Yao, Ph.D., Corey Broeckling, Ph.D., William B. Schoolcraft, M.D., Rebecca L. Krisher, Ph.D.



To characterize fatty acid (FA) profile of commercially available albumin products and determine their effect on embryonic development.


Research study.


Private research facility.


Outbred mice aged 4–8 weeks.


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to quantify the FA content of 15 commercial albumins. Embryos were produced in media containing different albumin products, with or without carnitine or exogenous FA supplementation, to determine their effect on embryo development in vitro.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Total micrograms of FA per milligram of albumin for the 15 albumin products, blastocyst development, cell number, allocation to the trophectoderm (TE) or inner cell mass (ICM), and evaluation of morphology during implantation.


The albumin products contained 0.07–16.77 μg total FA/mg albumin. Compared to media with with >1.4 μg FA/mg albumin, media with <0.5 μg FA/mg albumin supported improved blastocyst development, and addition of carnitine mitigated this difference. Addition of palmitoleic acid or oleic acid individually did not improve blastocyst development and decreased ICM:TE ratio. However, in the presence of carnitine, there was improved blastocyst development and maintenance of the ICM:TE ratio. Embryos cultured in Vitrolife human serum albumin with supplementation of carnitine, palmitoleic acid, and oleic acid were more likely to develop cells positive for POU5F1 in an extended embryo culture than embryos cultured in Origio serum protein substitute.


Commercial albumin products contain FAs, which vary in abundance. These FAs have different effects on embryo development and quality before and during the implantation stage. Several of these albumin preparations are routinely used for human-assisted reproductive technologies; therefore, serious consideration is warranted when selecting a product for clinical use.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

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