Simultaneous detection of two growth factors from human single-embryo culture medium by a bead-based digital microfluidic chip

Meng Shiue Lee, Wensyang Hsu*, Hong Yuan Huang, Hsueh Yang Tseng, Chia Tung Lee, Chung Yu Hsu, Yi Chueh Shieh, Shih Hung Wang, Da Jeng Yao, Cheng Hsien Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

30 Scopus citations


The measurement of growth factors released in a culture medium is considered to be an attractive non-invasive approach, apart from the embryo morphology, to identify the condition of an embryo development after fertilization in vitro (IVF), but the available embryo culture medium in the current method is only a few microlitres. This small sample volume, also of small concentration, makes difficult the application of a conventional detection method, such as an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A reliable detection of the growth factor from each embryo culture medium of such a small concentration hence remains a challenge. Here for the first time we report the results of measurement of not just one, but two, growth factors, human IL-1β and human TNF-α, from an individual droplet of embryo culture medium with a bead-based digital microfluidic chip. The required sample volume for a single measurement is only 520 nL; the total duration of the on-chip process is less than 40 min. Using the culture media of human embryos with normal morphologic features, we found that the concentrations of TNF-α change little from day 3 to day 5–6, but the concentrations of IL-1β for some embryos might double from day 3 to day 5–6. For other embryos even with similar normal morphologic features, some growth factors, such as IL-1β, might exhibit different expressions during the culture period. Those growth factors could serve to distinguish the development conditions of each embryo, not merely from an observation of embryo morphology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111851
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - 15 02 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Culture medium
  • Digital microfluidic
  • Growth factor
  • IVF
  • Immunoassay
  • In vitro fertilization


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