Abstract

Mammalian embryo development is still relatively inefficient in vitro. Much research has been conducted on the chemical environment, or culture medium, surrounding the embryo, but little attention has been given to the actual physical culture environment, which has changed very little over the years. The application of microfluidics to embryo production in vitro is a tantalising approach that may alleviate some of the limits that traditional microdrop culture places on embryo development and research into gamete and embryo physiology. These devices may lead to enhanced in vitro embryo development and quality by more closely mimicking the in vivo environment. Initial work in this area is promising and gives us proof-of-principle that these unique microfluidic systems may indeed be applicable to in vitro culture of gametes and embryos. The present paper reviews the advantages of microfluidics for in vitro embryo production: how the platforms are manufactured, the current uses of microfluidics in assisted reproduction, static v. dynamic culture environments, individual gamete and embryo culture and the future directions of microfluidic application to in vitro embryo production and manipulation. Finally, preliminary data from our laboratory using a new microfluidic well insert for porcine, bovine and murine embryo culture is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 13 2010

Keywords

  • In vitro fertilisation
  • In vitro maturation
  • Oocyte.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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