OBJECTIVE: The oligosaccharide moieties of glycoproteins and proteoglycans have a vital function in blastocyst differentiation. Concanavalin (ConA), a lectin, is known to bind on the preimplantation embryos, especially on blastocyst. In this study, we investigated whether ConA can modulate the trophoblast development and about the regulating mediator. Also, we investigated whether expansion is enough for hatching procession of the mouse blastocyst. METHOD: Embryos were collected at 72 h post hCG injection and chemicals were treated after 24 h (96 hr post hCG injection). ConA or calcium ionophore A23187 were exposed to blastocyst and than analysis the developmental process for 48 hr. Intracellular free-Ca2+ concentration in trophectoderm was measured with confocal laser microscope after exposing to ConA or calcium ionophore A23187. ConA-pretreated blastocyst exposed to the calcium ionophore A23187 and then analyzed the developmental process. Otherwise ouabain was treated to the blastocyst to block the Na+/K+-ATPase activity. RESULTS: In contrast to the control blastocyst, the ConA-exposed blastocysts developed beyond the expansion stage with significantly high rate (90.4%) at 12 h post administration. ConA induced an increase the intracellular Ca2+ concentration in trophectoderm. Calcium ionophore A23187 also stimulated expansion of blastocyst. Most of the control blastocysts developed to the hatching stage at 144 h post hCG injection. However, strongly 65% of the ConA-exposed embryos were arrested at expanded stage at same time point. The developmental progression rates to hatching stage of both ConA- and calcium ionophore A23187-expose blastocysts were significantly lower than that of the control. However ConA-pretreated embryos developed to the hatching stage like control embryos. Ouabain showed a tendency to delayed the progress to expansion stage but did not inhibit the development to the hatching stage. CONCLUSION: ConA-mediated expansion is the result of the increase of intracellular free-calcium in blastocyst stage embryo. It is suspected that expansion of the blasocyst is a essential indirect factor in hatching and the calcium may triggering the cellular mechanisms for the both expansion and hatching progression.