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Data from: Mouse whole embryo culture: evaluating the requirement for rat serum as culture medium

Cite this dataset

Culshaw, Lucy H.; Savery, Dawn; Greene, Nicholas D. E.; Copp, Andrew J. (2019). Data from: Mouse whole embryo culture: evaluating the requirement for rat serum as culture medium [Dataset]. Dryad.


BACKGROUND. Whole embryo culture is a valuable research method in mammalian developmental biology and birth defects research, enabling longitudinal studies of explanted organogenesis-stage rodent embryos. Rat serum is the primary culture medium, and can sustain growth and development over limited periods as in utero. However, the cost, labour and time to produce culture serum are factors limiting the uptake of the methodology. The goal of replacing or at least reducing rat serum usage in culture would be in accordance with the principles of ‘replacement, reduction and refinement’ of animals in research (the 3Rs). METHODS. We performed cultures of mouse embryos for 24 h from embryonic day 8.5 in serum-free media or in rat serum diluted with defined media, compared with 100% rat serum. Developmental parameters scored after culture included yolk sac circulation, dorsal axial length, somite number, protein content and completion of cranial neural tube closure. RESULTS. A literature review revealed use of both serum-free and diluted rat serum-based media in whole embryo culture studies, but with almost no formal comparisons of culture success against 100% rat serum. Two serum-free media were tested, but neither could sustain development as in 100% rat serum. Dilution of rat serum 1:1 with Glasgow Minimum Essential Medium plus Defined Supplements supported growth and development as well as whole rat serum, whereas other diluent media yielded sub-standard outcomes. CONCLUSIONS. Rat serum usage cannot be avoided, to achieve high quality mouse embryo cultures, but rat usage can be reduced using medium containing diluted serum.

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