Purpose: To evaluate whether the mitoscore of cleavage stage embryos might correlate with developmental kinetics and the ploidy status.
Materials: This retrospective single-center study involved all cycles between April 2016 and April 2018 in which preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) on day 3 was performed. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and embryo ploidy were determined on 375 single blastomere biopsies by next generation sequencing (NGS). After intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a time-lapse imaging system (embryoscope) was used to follow the development. The median mtDNA content of cleavage stage embryos (49.4) was used to stratify the embryos into two groups to compare embryo development and ploidy status: low mitoscore group (≤ 49.4) and high mitoscore group (> 49.4).
Results: The total number of euploid embryos was equal between both mitoscore groups (32.1% versus 33.5%; p = 0.854). However, embryos in the low mitoscore group had a significantly higher cell number on day 3 (8.13 ± 1.59 versus 7.62 ± 1.5; p = 0.0013) and showed a significantly faster development up until the 8-cell stage. Mitoscore was not different between euploid and aneuploid embryos, with the same blastomere number at the time of biopsy. Furthermore, absence of cavitation within 118 h after insemination was correlated with higher mitoscore values (60.22 ± 42.23 versus 50.97 ± 13.37; p = 0.006) and a lower chance of being euploid (17.1% versus 47.4%; p = 0.001).
Conclusion: mtDNA content of cleavage stage embryos correlates with time-lapse parameters. Early blastulation is correlated with a lower mtDNA content and a higher chance of euploidy.
Keywords: Aneuploidy; Mitochondrial DNA; Next generation sequencing; Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy; Time-lapse imaging.