Release of superoxide dismutase-1 by day 3 embryos of varying quality and implantation potential

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To determine if the antioxidant superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1 or Cu,Zn-SOD) is released by cultured human cleavage-stage embryos and to assess any link between SOD1 and implantation potential.


Women (n=91; ≤40 years old) undergoing IVF treatment with transfer of one or two 8-cell embryos that resulted in 0 or 100% implantation were included. Following individual embryo culture, spent medium samples (n= 122) were collected and levels of SOD1 protein were measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. SOD1 detection and concentration in embryo spent medium were analyzed in relation to embryo fragmentation and symmetry scores, and implantation (viable fetus at >12 weeks).


Cleavage-stage embryos release SOD1 protein into the spent culture medium. Neither detection nor concentration of SOD1 was related to implantation. There was a positive relationship between increased embryo fragmentation scores and SOD1 release, with no apparent association with symmetry. In non-pregnant cycles, the release of SOD1 decreased with increasing maternal age.


While SOD1 does not predict implantation potential of select good-quality embryos, our data support the need to evaluate the biological significance of released SOD1 by embryos of varying quality and from patients of varying age.

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