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Preimplantation genetic diagnosis may pose neurological risks Preimplantation genetic diagnosis may pose neurological risks

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis may pose neurological risks

Genetics • • NeurologyJul 21, 2009

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has helped many couples conceive healthy children and is generally considered a safe practice. However, a new long-term analysis of PGD in mice suggests that this procedure may increase risks of weight gain and memory decline in adulthood.

PGD is used alongside assisted reproduction technologies to ensure couples that may be carriers of genetic disease (e.g. Ashkenazi Jews who have a high incidence of Tay-Sachs among their population) don’t pass on defective genes to their children. While PGD is not believed to pose any serious health risks, the procedure does involve manipulating the developing embryo and no rigorous long-term studies have been carried out.

Ran Huo, Qi Zhou and colleagues used a mouse model to examine how a blastomere biopsy, as the key manipulation during the PGD procedure, could affect fetal, neonatal and adult development. 

They found that there were no differences in embryo development prior to uterine implantation in the biopsied and control groups, which is consistent with results found in humans. However, following implantation, successful births from biopsied embryos were significantly lower than in controls.

Following birth, the authors tracked many physical and behavioral properties; the two groups of mice were similar in many respects, though mice in the biopsied group on average had higher body weight and poorer memory in maze tests. To get a more detailed picture of these memory defects, the authors performed a proteomic analysis of adult mouse brains; 36 proteins displayed significant differences between biopsied and control groups, 17 of which are closely associated with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimers and Down Syndrome.

The authors suggest that the developing nervous system may be sensitive to blastomere biopsy, and that more studies should be performed to address any possible long-term adverse effects of PGD to ensure its safety.

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From the study: “Evaluation of Blastomere Biopsy Using a Mouse Model Indicates the Potential High Risk of Neurodegenerative Disorders in the Offspring” by Yang Yu, Jindao Wu, Yong Fan, Zhuo Lv, Xuejiang Guo, Chun Zhao, Rong Zhou, Zhuo Zhang, Fuqiang Wang, Min Xiao, Ling Chen, Hui Zhu, Wen Chen, Min Lin, Jiayin Liu, Zuomin Zhou, Liu Wang, Ran Huo, Qi Zhou and Jiahao Sha

Article Link: http://www.mcponline.org/cgi/content/full/8/7/1490

Corresponding Authors: Ran Huo, Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Nanjing Medical University, China; (currently on home leave) E-mail:

Qi Zhou, State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; Tel.: 86-10-64807299, E-mail:

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with over 11,900 members in the United States and internationally. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, nonprofit research institutions and industry. The Society’s student members attend undergraduate or graduate institutions.

Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The Society’s purpose is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through publication of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Lipid Research, and Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of science education at all levels, and promoting the diversity of individuals entering the scientific work force.

For more information about ASBMB, see the Society’s Web site at http://www.asbmb.org

Provided by ArmMed Media

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