Effects of three different types of antifreeze proteins on mouse ovarian tissue cryopreservation and transplantation

Jaewang Lee, Seul Ki Kim, Hye Won Youm, Hak Jun Kim, Jung Ryeol Lee, Chang Suk Suh, Seok Hyun Kim
PloS One 2015, 10 (5): e0126252

BACKGROUND: Ovarian tissue (OT) cryopreservation is effective in preserving fertility in cancer patients who have concerns about fertility loss due to cancer treatment. However, the damage incurred at different steps during the cryopreservation procedure may cause follicular depletion; hence, preventing chilling injury would help maintain ovarian function.

OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to investigate the beneficial effects of different antifreeze proteins (AFPs) on mouse ovarian tissue cryopreservation and transplantation.

METHODOLOGY: Ovaries were obtained from 5-week-old B6D2F1 mice, and each ovary was cryopreserved using two-step vitrification and four-step warming procedures. In Experiment I, ovaries were randomly allocated into fresh, vitrification control, and nine experimental groups according to the AFP type (FfIBP, LeIBP, type III) and concentration (0.1, 1, 10 mg/mL) used. After vitrification and warming, 5,790 ovarian follicles were evaluated using histology and TUNEL assays, and immunofluorescence for τH2AX and Rad51 was used to detect DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and repair (DDR), respectively. In Experiment II, 20 mice were randomly divided into two groups: one where the vitrification and warming media were supplemented with 10 mg/mL LeIBP, and the other where media alone were used (control). Ovaries were then autotransplanted under both kidney capsules 7 days after vitrification together with the addition of 10 mg/mL LeIBP in the vitrification-warming media. After transplantation, the ovarian follicles, the percentage of apoptotic follicles, the extent of the CD31-positive area, and the serum FSH levels of the transplanted groups were compared.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In Experiment I, the percentage of total grade 1 follicles was significantly higher in the 10 mg/mL LeIBP group than in the vitrification control, while all AFP-treated groups had significantly improved grade 1 primordial follicle numbers compared with those of the vitrification control. The number of apoptotic (TUNEL-positive) follicles was significantly decreased in the groups treated with 1 and 10 mg/mL LeIBP. The proportion of τH2AX-positive follicles was significantly reduced in all AFP-treated groups, while the proportion of Rad51-positive follicles was significantly decreased in only the FfIBP- and LeIBP-treated groups. In Experiment II, after autotransplantation of OT vitrified with 10 mg/mL of LeIBP, the percentage of total grade 1 and primordial grade 1 follicles, and the extent of the CD31-positive area, were increased significantly. Moreover, the levels of serum FSH and the percentage of TUNEL-positive follicles were significantly lower in the LeIBP-treated than in the control group.

CONCLUSION: A supplementation with high concentrations of AFPs had protective effects on follicle preservation during OT vitrification-warming procedures. The group treated with LeIBP was protected most effectively. The beneficial effects of LeIBP were also observed after autotransplantation of vitrified-warmed OT. Further studies are necessary to determine the exact mechanism of these protective effects.

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