Numerical calculations for diffusion effects in the well-of-the-well culture system for mammalian embryos

Koji Matsuura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies suggest that the microenvironment and embryo density used during embryo culture considerably affect development to the blastocyst stage. High embryo density allows for autocrine secretions to diffuse to neighbouring embryos during group culture, with a positive effect on further development. A variation of group culture is the well-of-the-well (WOW) culture system, allowing for individual identification of embryos cultured in small holes in a microdroplet. Bovine blastocyst development is higher in the WOW culture system than in conventional group culture. To compare the concentration of chemical factors between conventional and WOW culture, a model was constructed to calculate the concentration of secreted factors based on Fick's second law of diffusion using spreadsheet software. Furthermore, model was used to determine the concentration of growth factors and waste materials adjacent to the embryo periphery. The results of these calculations suggest that the highest difference in the concentration of secreted small molecules and macromolecules was at the most two- to threefold, with the concentrations reduced more and diffusion kinetics facilitated to a greater extent in the WOW culture system. The average ratio of the concentration of secreted macromolecules (10 nm diameter) around the embryos was also compared between systems with well widths of 0.1 and 0.3 mm. The concentration of secreted materials surrounding embryos increased in a narrow tapered well. The findings suggest that theWOWculture system is better than conventional group culture because of the increased final concentration of autocrine factors and higher diffusion kinetics of waste materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-751
Number of pages10
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Autocrine effect
  • In vitro embryo culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Numerical calculations for diffusion effects in the well-of-the-well culture system for mammalian embryos'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this