Skip to main content Accessibility help

Secretion of stem cell factor and granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor by mouse embryos in culture: influence of group culture

  • A. P. Contramaestre (a1), F. Sifontes (a2), R. Marín (a3) and M. I. Camejo (a4) (a1)


Previous studies showed that the addition of a growth factor to the culture medium could modulate embryo development. The possible secretion of different factors to the culture medium by the embryo itself, however, has been poorly evaluated. The present study was designed to investigate: (1) the influence of single or group culture on the development of 2-cell mouse embryos (strain CD-1) to the blastocyst stage; (2) the release of granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and stem cell factor (SCF) into the culture medium by the embryo; and (3) the levels of GM-CSF and SCF in the culture medium from both single and group embryos. Two-cell CD-1 mouse embryos were cultured for 96 h singly or in groups of five embryos per drop. GM-CSF and SCF were assayed by ELISA in the complete culture medium. It was found that embryos cultured in groups gave a higher percentage of total blastocyst formation and hatched blastocyst when compared with single embryo culture. The mouse embryos secreted GM-CSF and SCF to the culture medium. The concentration of these cytokines is significantly higher in the group cultures than the level found in single cultures. In conclusion, mouse embryos in culture secrete GM-CSF and SCF to the culture medium and the concentration of these cytokines increases during communal culture. These factors may be operating in both autocrine and paracrine pathways to modulate embryo development during in vitro culture.


Corresponding author

All correspondence to: María Isabel Camejo. Universidad Simón Bolívar, Departamento de Biología de Organismos, Sartenejas, Baruta, Estado Miranda, Venezuela. Tel/Fax: +58 212 9063077. e-mail:


Hide All
Almagor, M., Bejar, C., Kafka, I. & Yaffe, H. (1996). Pregnancy rates after communal growth of preimplantation human embryos in vitro. Fertil. Steril. 66, 394–7.
Bavister, B.D. (2000). Interactions between embryos and the culture milieu. Theriogenology 53, 619–26.
Behr, B., Mooney, S., Wen, Y., Polan, M.L. & Wang, H. (2005). Preliminary experience with low concentration of granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor: a potential regulator in preimplantation mouse embryo development and apoptosis. J. Assist. Reprod. Genet. 22, 2532.
Brison, D.R. & Schultz, R.M. (1997). Apoptosis during mouse blastocyst formation: evidence for a role for survival factors including transforming growth factor-a. Biol. Reprod. 56, 1088–96.
Cui, X.S., Lee, J.Y., Choi, S.H., Kwon, M.S., Kim, T. & Kim, N.H. (2004). Mouse granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor enhances viability of porcine embryos in defined culture conditions. Anim. Reprod. Sci. 84, 169–77.
Freeman, M.R., Bastias, M.C., Hill, G.A. & Osteen, K.G. (1993). Co-culture of mouse embryos with cells isolated from the human ovarian follicle, oviduct and uterine endometrium. Fertil. Steril. 59, 138–42.
Gardner, D.K., Lane, M.W. & Lane, M. (1997). Development of the inner cell mass in mouse blastocysts is stimulated reducing the embryo: incubation volume ratio. Hum. Reprod. 12, 182–3.
Hardy, K. & Spanos, S. (2002). Growth factor expression and function in the human and mouse preimplantation embryo. J. Endrocrinol. 172, 221–36.
Harlow, G.M. & Quinn, P. (1982). Development of preimplantation mouse embryos in vivo and in vitro. Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 35, 187–93.
Kane, M.T., Morgan, P.M. & Coonan, C. (1997). Peptide growth factors and preimplantation development. Hum. Reprod. Update 3, 137–57.
Kurzawa, R., Glabowski, W., Baczkowski, T., Wiszniewska, B. & Marchlewicz, M. (2004). Growth factors protect in vitro cultured embryos from the consequences of oxidative stress. Zygote 12, 231–40.
Lane, M. & Gardner, D.K. (1992). Effect of incubation volume and embryo density on the development and viability of mouse embryos in vitro. Hum. Reprod. 7, 558–62.
Mitsunari, M., Harada, T., Tanikawa, M., Iwabe, T., Taniguchi, F. & Terakawa, N. (1999). The potential role of stem cell factor and its receptor c-kit in the mouse blastocyst implantation. Mol. Hum. Reprod. 5, 874–9.
O'Neill, C. (1998). Autocrine mediators are required to act on the embryo by the 2-cell stage to promote normal development and survival of mouse preimplantation embryos in vitro. Biol. Reprod. 58, 1303–9.
O'Neill, C. (1997). Evidence for the requirement of autocrine growth factors for development of mouse preimplantation embryos in vitro. Biol. Reprod. 56, 229–37.
Paria, B.C. & Dey, S.K. (1990). Preimplantation embryo development in vitro: cooperative interactions among embryos and role of growth factors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 87, 4756–60.
Robertson, S.A., Mayrhofer, G. & Seamark, R.F. (1992). Uterine epithelial cells synthesize granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-6 in pregnant and nonpregnant mice. Biol. Reprod. 46, 1069–79.
Robertson, S.A., Roberts, C.T., Farr, K.L., Dunn, A.R. & Seamark, R.F. (1999). Fertility impairment in granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor-deficient mice. Biol. Reprod. 60, 251–61.
Robertson, S.A., Sjoblom, C., Jasper, M.J., Norman, R.J. & Seamark, R.F. (2001). Granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor promotes glucose transport and blastomere viability in murine preimplantation embryos. Biol. Reprod. 64, 1206–15.
Sharkey, A.M., Dellow, K., Blayney, M., Macnamee, M., Charnock–Jones, S. & Smith, S.K. (1995). Stage-specific expression of cytokine and receptor messenger ribonucleic acids in human preimplantation embryos. Biol. Reprod. 53, 974–81.
Sjoblom, C., Roberts, C.T., Wikland, M. & Robertson, S.A. (2005). Granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor alleviates adverse consequences of embryo culture on fetal growth trajectory and placental morphogenesis. Endocrinology 146, 2142–53.
Sjoblom, C., Wikland, M. & Robertson, S.A. (1999). Granulocyte–macrophage colony stimulating factor promotes human blastocyst development in vitro. Hum. Reprod. 14, 3069–76.
Taniguchi, F., Harada, T., Nara, M., Deura, I., Mitsunari, M. & Terakawa, N. (2004). Co-culture with a human granulosa cell line enhanced the development of murine preimplantation embryos via SCF/c-kit system. J. Assist. Reprod. Genet. 21, 223–8.


Secretion of stem cell factor and granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor by mouse embryos in culture: influence of group culture

  • A. P. Contramaestre (a1), F. Sifontes (a2), R. Marín (a3) and M. I. Camejo (a4) (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed