Comparison of three embryo culture methods for derivation of human embryonic stem cells from discarded embryos.
ABSTRACT Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are self-renewing and pluripotent cells that hold great promise. Our objective was to compare the effect of three different embryo culture methods for derivation of human embryonic stem cells from discarded embryos. A prospective and randomized trial was conducted using 381 discarded human embryos at days 2-3 postfertilization in Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital IVF center. After removal of the zona pellucida, discarded human embryos were cultured by three different methods as multiple embryo aggregates, single embryo, and blastomeres. Outgrowth of embryos and hESC derivation were observed. The outgrowth rate of embryos cultured as multiple embryo aggregates was higher than that of those cultured as single embryos or blastomeres (p < 0.05). Three propagating hESC lines were derived from poor quality day 2-3 postfertilization nonblastocyst embryos cultured as multiple embryo aggregates. Derived hESC lines expressed hESC-specific markers of pluripotency and had normal diploid karyotype. The cells were able to form derivatives of all three germ layers in vivo as teratomas. Our results demonstrate that culturing these discarded embryos as multiple embryo aggregates was more profitable for outgrowth and derivation of ESC line than culturing these as single embryo or blastomeres.