Use of energy substrates by various stage preimplantation pig embryos produced in vivo and in vitro

Reproduction. 2002 Feb;123(2):253-60.


The aim of in vitro embryo systems is to produce embryos of comparable quality to those derived in vivo. Comparison of embryo metabolism as an indicator of viability may be useful in optimization of culture conditions. The aim of the present study was to determine glucose, glutamine and pyruvate use by various stage pig embryos produced in vitro and in vivo. The results indicate that pig embryos use glucose via glycolysis in significant amounts at all stages examined, regardless of embryo origin. In vitro-derived embryos have significantly increased glycolytic activity after the eight-cell stage, whereas in vivo-derived embryos have increased glycolysis at the blastocyst stage. In vivo-derived embryos have higher rates of glycolysis compared with in vitro-derived embryos. Glucose usage through the Krebs cycle for in vitro- and in vivo-derived embryos increased significantly at the blastocyst stage. Pig embryos produced in vitro used constant amounts of glutamine throughout development, whereas in vivo-derived embryos increased glutamine usage after the eight-cell stage. Pyruvate use was minimal at all stages examined for both in vitro- and in vivo-derived pig embryos, showing significant increases at the blastocyst stage. Krebs cycle metabolism of pyruvate, glutamine and glucose by in vivo-derived embryos was higher than that by in vitro-derived embryos. Current in vitro culture conditions produce pig embryos with altered metabolic activity, which may compromise embryo viability.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Blastocyst / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Citric Acid Cycle*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Gestational Age
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pyruvic Acid / metabolism
  • Swine / embryology
  • Swine / metabolism*


  • Glutamine
  • Pyruvic Acid
  • Glucose