Development of a respirometric biochip for embryo assessment
A prototype respirometric biochip dedicated to monitoring oxygen consumption of preimplantation embryos has been developed. The biochip comprises a linear array of eight flow-through microchambers profiled on silicon substrate, and functions together with a phosphorescent oxygen sensitive probe and fluorescence plate reader detection. A high level of sensitivity to changes in dissolved oxygen was achieved through miniaturisation and optimization of biochip geometry, and incorporation of appropriate sealing and humidification systems. The biochips have allowed characterisation of oxygen consumption, by 2 cell and blastocyst stage preimplantation mouse embryos, through monitoring as few as ten preimplantation embryos over a one-hour time period. They provide a non-invasive, simple and convenient means for assessing preimplantation embryo metabolism.