Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 36, Issue 9, pp 1855–1865 | Cite as

Adjusted mitochondrial DNA quantification in human embryos may not be applicable as a biomarker of implantation potential

  • Yi-Xuan Lee
  • Chi-Huang Chen
  • Shyr-Yeu Lin
  • Yi-Hui Lin
  • Chii-Ruey TzengEmail author
Embryo Biology



To evaluate the feasibility of adjusted mitochondrial DNA quantification in human embryos as a biomarker for implantation potential.


Double-blind, observational, prospective analysis of an Asian population in a single university-affiliated in vitro fertilization center. A total of 1617 embryos derived from 380 infertile couples were collected. The DNA from blastomere biopsy (n = 99) or trophectoderm biopsy (n = 1518) were analyzed with next-generation sequencing.


The adjusted mtDNA quantification followed a non-normal distribution in both types of the embryos. When stratified by ploidy status, the adjusted mtDNA quantification was significantly higher in aneuploid trophectoderm than in euploid cells, but not in blastomeres. The adjusted mtDNA quantification of embryos showed significant but very weak positive correlation in total trophectoderm cells with maternal age (Spearman’s correlation, r = 0.095, p = 0.0028) but neither in blastomeres nor stratified by ploidy status. The median adjusted mtDNA quantification was also significantly higher in aneuploid blastocysts than in euploid ones while corrected with embryo morphology. Viable embryos did not contain significantly different quantities of adjusted mtDNA compared with nonviable embryos (implanted n = 103, non-implanted n = 164; median 0.00097 vs. 0.00088, p = 0.21) in 267 transferred blastocysts.


Quantification of adjusted mitochondria DNA in human embryos was significantly lower in euploid blastocysts than in aneuploid blastocysts. However, no statistically significant differences regarding implantation outcome were evident. To our best knowledge, this study provides the largest scale and the first correlation data between mitochondria copy number and human embryo implantation potential in Asians.


Mitochondrial DNA copy number Correction factors PGT-A IVF Biomarker 



The authors thank all the embryologists of the reproductive center of Taipei Medical University Hospital for embryo biopsy and sample preparation. We also thank the bioinformatics support provided by the Genomics Center for Clinical and Biotechnological Applications of the National Yang-Ming University VGH Genome Research Center. Genomics Center for Clinical and Biotechnological Applications is supported by the National Core Facility for Biopharmaceuticals, Ministry of Science and Technology. We also thank the Taipei Medical University Hospital for financial support. Finally, we thank the Genetics Generation Advancement Corporation for supporting this study in various forms, including sample preparation and interpretation, technical support, and extremely helpful discussions.


This study was partially supported by research grants NSC96-2314-B-038-019 and MOST-104-2314-B-038-063-MY2 from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, Academia Sinica (BM10501010036, BM10601010024), National Healthy Research Institute (MG-1050SP-07, MG-106-SP-07), and Taipei Medical University Hospital (108TMUH-NE-01). The funders played no role in the conduct of the study or the writing of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was reviewed and approved by the Taipei Medical University joint institutional review board (TMU-JIRB, approval number: N201707027). Patient informed consent for analysis of surplus DNA product was obtained with the approval of the ethical committee.

Conflict of interest

Dr. Yi-Hui Lin serves as a medical consultant for Genetics Generation Advancement Corporation. The other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi-Xuan Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chi-Huang Chen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Shyr-Yeu Lin
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yi-Hui Lin
    • 4
    • 5
  • Chii-Ruey Tzeng
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Clinical MedicineTaipei Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Division of Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyTaipei Medical University HospitalTaipei CityTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, College of MedicineTaipei Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wan Fang HospitalTaipei Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  5. 5.Genetics Generation Advancement Corporation (GGA Corp.)TaipeiTaiwan
  6. 6.Center for Reproductive MedicineTaipei Medical University HospitalTaipei CityTaiwan

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