JOURNAL ARTICLE

Improvement in the quality of heterotopic allotransplanted mouse ovarian tissues with basic fibroblast growth factor and fibrin hydrogel

Jiang-Man Gao, Jie Yan, Rong Li, Min Li, Li-Ying Yan, Tian-Ren Wang, Hong-Cui Zhao, Yue Zhao, Yang Yu, Jie Qiao
Human Reproduction 2013, 28 (10): 2784-93
23892320

STUDY QUESTION: Does basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) in combination with fibrin hydrogel improve follicle development and revascularization of heterotopically transplanted mouse ovarian tissues?

SUMMARY ANSWER: Treatment of transplanted ovarian tissues with higher concentrations (75, 100 and 150 μg/ml), but not lower concentrations (25 and 50 μg/ml), of bFGF significantly improved primordial follicle survival and angiogenesis, while apoptosis of follicles and stromal cells was significantly decreased.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Use of transplanted ovarian tissues in female fertility preservation is limited by the massive loss of follicles and ischemia-reperfusion injury due to the expected delay in revascularization.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE AND DURATION: Ovarian tissues from 18-day-old ICR mice were encapsulated in fibrin hydrogel mixed with different concentrations of bFGF, then transplanted under the skin of adult female mice for 1 week. The ovarian tissues treated without fibrin hydrogels and bFGF were designated as Control group I, and the ovarian tissues treated with fibrin hydrogels but without bFGF were designated as Control group II. The ovarian tissues treated with 25 and 50 μg/ml bFGF were designated as the lower concentration group, and the ovarian tissues treated with 75, 100 and 150 μg/ml bFGF were designated as the higher concentration group.

MATERIALS, SETTING AND METHODS: Assessment of follicular quantity and follicle classification was carried out by histologic analysis. Follicle proliferation was evidenced by immunostaining with proliferating cell nuclear antigen and apoptosis was verified by anti-active caspase-3 staining. Epithelial cells of new blood vessels were stained using CD31 antibody to evaluate neoangiogenesis, and the blood vessel density was analyzed by immunohistochemistry.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The ovarian tissues were recovered 1 week post-transplantation. Compared with the control group, the survival and proliferation of the follicles was significantly increased, the apoptosis of follicles and stromal cells was significantly decreased, and angiogenesis was significantly enhanced when the transplanted ovarian tissues were treated with a higher concentration of bFGF. Treatment with a lower concentration of bFGF did not improve follicle survival and blood revascularization.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The results obtained may not be fully extrapolated to humans because of the physiologic differences between mice and humans.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: For the first time, the present study investigated the role of bFGF in transplanted ovarian tissues and demonstrated that bFGF might significantly improve the quality of transplanted ovarian tissues by increasing follicle quantity and promoting neoangiogenesis. This study sets the stage for further study and application of ovarian tissue transplantation in clinics, and may eventually benefit females for fertility preservation.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This work was partially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China Grants (973 Program; 2011CB944503 to Q.J.), the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University of Ministry of Education of China (30825038 to Q.J.), and the National Natural Science Funds for Young Scholar (81200470 to Y.J. and 81000275 to Y.L.Y.). None of the authors have any conflicts of interest.

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