Korean J Fertil Steril.  2000 Mar;27(1):39-46.

Mechanism for the Action of Co-culture


A number of studies to improve in vitro culture conditions have been tried over past ten years by using co-culture system with helper somatic cells. However, the mechanism of coculture is poorly understood. This study was designed to understand the mechanism for the mode of actual action of co-culture system of ICR strain's 1-cell embryos with human oviduct epithelial cells by examining the effect of conditioned medium and contactless coculture using a cell culture insert on the embryo development and by measuring the level of superoxide anion from conditioned medium after co-culture.
ICR strain's zygote embryos were cultured in medium alone (control), coculture, conditioned medium, or contactless coculture system for 6 days. Conditioned media (CM) were prepared as following 5 groups. All CM were collected after culturing oviduct cells for 2 days. CM-1 was stored at -20degrees C until use, and CM-2 was prepared just before use as a culture medium. CM-3 was cocultured with embryos and retrieved just before use. CM-4 and CM-5 were derives from the microfilteration of CM-2 and CM-3, respectively, using Microcon-10 (10 kDa molecular weight cut-off). The percentage of the embryos developed to hatched blastocyst stage and the level of superoxide anion in supernatant from medium alone culture (control), coculture, and contactless coculture were measured.
The rates of embryo development to the hatched blastocyst stage were significantly higher in coculture (43%) than in control (0%) (p<0.05). The CM-1 group had no embryo development since 2-cell embryonic stage, whereas the CM-2, CM-3, CM-4 and CM-5 groups had the improved development to 4 or 8 cell embryo stage, but the similar rate of development to hatched blastocyst compared to control. The effect of coculture on embryo develpment was disappeared in the contactless coculture group. The level of superoxide anion was significantly reduced in coculture group compared to control.
It is concluded that the present coculture system overcomes the 2-cell block in vitro and improves the embryo development. This beneficial effect may be due to the direct cell-cell contact between embryo and helper cells or the removal of deleterious components from medium rather than the embryotrophic factors.

MeSH Terms

Cell Culture Techniques
Coculture Techniques*
Culture Media, Conditioned
Embryonic Development
Embryonic Structures
Epithelial Cells
Molecular Weight
T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer
Culture Media, Conditioned
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