Non-invasive measurement of pyruvate and glucose uptake and lactate production by sigle human preimplantation embryos
The consumption of pyruvate and glucose and the production of lactate by 40 single human preimplantation embryos has been measured using a non-invasive technique. Twelve of the embryos showed abnormal fertilization. Of the 28 normally fertilized embryos, nine (32%) developed to the blastocyst stage in culture while the remainder degenerated or arrested during cleavage. In the normal embryos, pyruvate uptake exceeded that of glucose in the early developmental stages (days 2-5 post-insemination) before glucose became the predominant substrate in the blastocyst (day 6). Considerable quantities of lactate were formed throughout development, rising from a value of 43.6 pmol/embryo/h on day 2.5 to 95.4 pmol/embryo/h on day 5.5. The values of pyruvate and glucose uptake and lactate production of those embryos which arrested were below those whkh developed normally. On the basis that one mole of glucose can give rise to two moles of lactate, only 50% of the lactate produced could be accounted for in terms of glucose uptake from the medium. This figure rose to 90% in the blastocyst. The remaining lactate must be derived from endogenous sources, most probably glycogen. It is proposed that the high production of lactate by human preimplantation embryos in vitro is an adaptation to the conditions of culture.