Chronically high blood glucose concentrations are a characteristic of diabetes mellitus. Maternal diabetes affects the metabolism of early embryos and can cause a delay in development. To mimic maternal diabetes, bovine in vitro fertilization and embryo culture were performed in fertilization medium and culture medium containing 0.5, 2, 3, and 5 mM, glucose whereas under control conditions, the medium was glucose free (0 mM). Compared to control conditions (0 mM, 31%), blastocyst development was decreased to 23% with 0.5 and 2 mM glucose. Presence of 3 or 5 mM glucose in the medium resulted in decreased blastocyst rates (20% and 10% respectively). The metabolomic profile of resulting day 8 blastocysts was analysed by UPLC-MS/MS, and compared to that of blastocysts cultured in control conditions. Elevated glucose concentrations stimulated an increase in glycolysis and activity of the hexosamine pathway, which is involved in protein glycosylation. However, components of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, such as citrate and alpha-ketoglutarate, were reduced in glucose stimulated blastocysts, suggesting that energy production from pyruvate was inefficient. On the other hand, activity of the polyol pathway, an alternative route to energy generation, was increased. In short, cattle embryos exposed to elevated glucose concentrations during early development showed changes in their metabolomic profile consistent with the expectations of exposure to diabetic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0199310
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Blastocysts
  • Glucose
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Embryos
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Oocytes
  • Metabolomics
  • Fertilization


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