- •hESCs are a precious resource for studying developmental cell biology and therapy
- •PGT results in IVF cycles with next-generation sequencing are more reliable
- •Genetic abnormalities and poor morphology may prevent the derivation of hESC lines
- •hESC derivation may be a functional indicator on the clinical viability of embryos
- •Findings from hESC derivation can provided extra support to genetic counselling
Can discarded embryos at blastocyst stage, donated to research because of genetic abnormalities and poor morphological quality, become a reliable source of human embryonic stem cell (HESC) lines?
This study was consecutively conducted with 23 discarded embryos that were donated to research between February 2020 and April 2021. All embryos, except one, were morphologically evaluated and underwent trophectoderm biopsy for preimplantation genetic testing using next-generation sequencing (NGS), and then vitrified. After warming, the embryos were placed in appropriate culture conditions for the generation of HESCs, which was functionally assessed with immunofluorescence and flow cytometry for pluripotency capacity and spontaneous in-vitro differentiation. Cytogenetic assessment of the HESC was conducted with multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, and micro array comparative genomic hybridization.
From the 23 embryos initially included, 17 survived warming, and 16 of them presented viability. Overall, the embryos presented poor morphological quality after warming. Only the previously untested embryo was capable of generating a new HESC line. Further characterization of this line revealed fully functional, euploid HESCs with preserved pluripotency, becoming a useful resource for research into human development and therapeutic investigation.
None of the donated blastocysts with poor morphological quality in association with genetic abnormalities detected by NGS had the capacity for further in-vitro expansion to originate pluripotent HESC lines. This finding seems to provide extra support to genetic counselling on the suitability of this type of embryo for clinical use.
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Ianaê I Ceschin obtained her MSc from the Institute of Biosciences at University of São Paulo, and is currently a preimplantation genetic counsellor. She has extensive experience in the field of embryology, and her research involves genetic counselling and the derivation of human embryonic stem cell lines.
Of the 23 donated embryos, 16 were considered viable for human embryonic stem cell derivation, of which 15 harbouring genetic abnormalities and poor morphology quality displayed no capacity for further in-vitro cell expansion. Such embryos may be unsuitable for clinical use and the derivation of human embryonic stem cell lines.
Published online: December 01, 2022
Accepted: November 29, 2022
Received in revised form: November 26, 2022
Received: August 16, 2022Declaration: The authors report no financial or commercial conflicts of interest.
© 2022 Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.