Time-lapse monitoring of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos may help to predict developmental success and increase birth and embryonic stem cells (ESC) derivation rates. Here, the development of ICSI fertilized embryos and of SCNT embryos, non-treated or treated with either psammaplin A (PsA) or vitamin C (VitC), was monitored, and the ESC derivation rates from the resulting blastocysts were determined. Blastocyst rates were similar among PsA-treated and VitC-treated SCNT embryos and ICSI embryos, but lower for non-treated SCNT embryos. ESC derivation rates were higher in treated SCNT embryos than in non-treated or ICSI embryos. Time-lapse microscopy analysis showed that non-treated SCNT embryos had a delayed development from the second division until compaction, lower number of blastomeres at compaction and longer compaction and cavitation durations compared with ICSI ones. Treatment of SCNT embryos with PsA further increased this delay whereas treatment with VitC slightly reduced it, suggesting that both treatments act through different mechanisms, not necessarily related to their epigenetic effects. Despite these differences, the time of completion of the third division, alone or combined with the duration of compaction and/or the presence of fragmentation, had a strong predictive value for blastocyst formation in all groups. In contrast, we failed to predict ESC derivation success from embryo morphokinetics. Time-lapse technology allows the selection of SCNT embryos with higher developmental potential and could help to increase cloning outcomes. Nonetheless, further studies are needed to find reliable markers for full-term development and ESC derivation success.
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- Author: Anna Mallol x
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