Metabolism of the oocyte and the preimplantation embryo: implications for assisted reproduction

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Jun;30(3):163-170. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000455.


Purpose of review: To discuss the common aspects of energy generation in the cell, substrate utilization by the oocyte and the preimplantation embryos, metabolic characteristics of the reproductive tract, and how metabolic characteristics of an embryo can be exploited to assess viability.

Recent findings: Utilization of pyruvate, lactate and glucose by the oocyte and the preimplantation embryo seems to be tightly controlled by the most essential molecular regulatory pathways.

Summary: Accumulating data on the metabolic needs of the preimplantation embryo and the substrate concentrations in the reproductive tract guide us in improving in-vitro culture conditions, and provide potential biomarkers of embryo viability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blastocyst / metabolism*
  • Embryonic Development / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Genitalia, Female / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism*
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • Pyruvic Acid / metabolism*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted


  • Lactic Acid
  • Pyruvic Acid
  • Glucose