LIF and sIL-2R plasma concentrations in IVF patients on the day of embryo transfer: Predictive markers of IVF outcome
Fertilization in Vitro
Leukemia Inhibitory Factor
Successful implantation is still the limiting step in IVF. We hypothesized that maternal plasma concentrations of certain cytokines at the time of embryo transfer could predict the likelihood of successful implantation and pregnancy. sIL-2R, IL-6, LIF, and MMP2 concentrations were measured in plasma from 160 IVF patients (natural and stimulated IVF cycles) on the morning of the embryo transfer (ET0) and 14 days later (ET+14). Patients were ultimately subdivided into four groups depending on the IVF treatment outcome (pregnancy failure, biochemical pregnancy, first-trimester miscarriage and normal term delivery). In natural and stimulated IVF cycles at ET0, sIL-2R concentrations were threefold higher in biochemical pregnancies than in pregnancy failures (P=0.020), and in natural cycles only, 2.5-fold higher in normal term deliveries than in pregnancy failures (P=0.023). Conversely, in natural and stimulated IVF cycles at ET0, LIF concentrations were one third lower in biochemical pregnancies/first-trimester miscarriages compared with pregnancy failures (P=0.042). We suggest that high sIL-2R and low LIF concentrations in maternal plasma on the morning of the embryo transfer might be associated with increased risks of early pregnancy loss, while a basal level of sIL-2R is necessary for normal term delivery outcome. Both cytokine measurements might therefore be useful in the management of IVF patients, and modulation of their concentrations could be investigated as a therapeutic alternative for women with abnormal concentrations at the time of embryo transfer.