Manipal University and IISc Bangalore identify a way to predict DNA defects in IVF derived early embryos using a noninvasive technology

• Researchers induced DNA lesions experimentally in mouse embryos and observed stark changes in embryo metabolism with high level of DNA damage.

• The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) technology was used to detect the metabolic changes in the surrounding growth medium of the embryos.

• The researchers could detect this change 24 hours before the onset of cell death in the embryos.

Manipal, November 21 : Manipal University research received yet another shot in the arm when a team led by Dr Satish Adiga and Dr. Hanudatta Atreya of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore identified a way to predict DNA defects in IVF derived early embryos using a noninvasive technology. Scientific Reports, an esteemed British journal from Nature Group has published this innovative finding today. Last week, the University Researchers had discovered the biomolecules that impede surveillance against infection and promote complications in diabetes.
In this study, the researchers induced DNA lesions experimentally in mouse embryos and observed stark changes in embryo metabolism with high level of DNA damage. The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) technology was used to detect the metabolic changes in the surrounding growth medium of the embryos. The researchers could detect this change 24 hours before the onset of cell death in the embryos. This may prove to be extremely advantageous when extrapolated to the clinical IVF set up.

The team included Fiona D’Souza, Shubhashree Uppangala, Guruprasad Kalthur and scientists from IISC and National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore.

Vice chancellor, Manipal University, Dr H Vinod Bhat said; “This is a significant step forward by our team towards benefiting infertile couples in improving their IVF success”. Dr Adiga who is also an IVF expert said; “The IVF industry all over the world is striving to increase the success rate by applying invasive tests on the embryos. However, there are ethical and other concerns on using such tests on human embryos. We can now efficiently identify embryos with high amounts of DNA lesions and avoid transferring them to patients as they will eventually fail to implant or result in early pregnancy loss”.

“The study brings out how powerful the small molecule metabolites are when it comes to probing changes happening at a macroscopic or cellular level. This opens up new avenues to probe the response of embryos to various external stimuli” said Dr Atreya who is involved in developing biomarker.

The research work is one of the first reports that document how embryos change their metabolism in response to DNA damage in a controlled set up observed in a mouse model. “Previously in the year 2012, our research team was the first in the country to establish this technology to achieve better implantation rates in infertile patients,” said Dr Poornima Baliga, Dean of Kasturba Medical College, Manipal.
Another renowned IVF specialist Dr Pratap Kumar said that the study gave hope to infertile couples as many of them suffered from failed IVF cycles and many a times the reasons were unknown. Indian Funding agencies such as Department of Science and Technology and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have supported this work.

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