Transplantation of adipose-derived stem cells combined with collagen scaffolds restores ovarian function in a rat model of premature ovarian insufficiency

Jing Su, Lijun Ding, Jie Cheng, Jun Yang, Xin'an Li, Guijun Yan, Haixiang Sun, Jianwu Dai, Yali Hu
Human Reproduction 2016, 31 (5): 1075-86

STUDY QUESTION: Does the transplantation of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) on soluble collagen scaffolds (collagen/ADSCs) have better therapeutic effect than transplantation of ADSCs alone, to treat premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) in a rat model induced by Tripterygium Glycosides (TG)?

SUMMARY ANSWER: The transplantation of collagen/ADSCs increased the short-term retention of ADSCs in ovaries and contributed to long-term restoration of ovarian function, as well as the fertility of rats with TG-induced ovarian damage.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: About 50% of young women in China, who have been treated with TG, have subsequently developed ovarian insufficiency. Rats exhibit similar symptoms to these patients when given an equivalent dose of TG. Transplantation of ADSCs improves ovarian function impaired by chemotherapy in rodent models.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: After the administration of TG, 54 POI model rats were randomly assigned to 4 groups: phosphate buffered saline (PBS) ( ITALIC! n = 14), collagen ( ITALIC! n = 11), ADSCs ( ITALIC! n = 16) and collagen/ADSCs ( ITALIC! n = 13). Seventeen normal rats were assigned as control group. The retention of ADSCs in ovaries was confirmed immediately or at 3, 7, 14 and 28 days after transplantation ( ITALIC! n = 9). Four weeks after transplantation, ovarian function was evaluated from estrous cycle, estradiol level, the follicle number, granulosa cell proliferation and a fertility test.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: To establish the POI model, rats were administered 60 mg TG/kg/day intragastrically for 50 days. The estrous cycles were assessed by vaginal smear. The concentration of plasma estradiol in diestrus stage was measured using a radioimmunoassay kit. Disordered estrous cycles and low serum estradiol levels indicated the successful establishment of the POI model. Four types of suspensions (PBS, collagen, ADSCs and collagen/ADSCs) were transplanted directly into the core of the ovaries. The short-term retention of ADSCs in ovaries was evaluated by small-animal positron emission tomography images immediately after transplantation of (18)F-Fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG) labeled ADSCs. The long-term retention of ADSCs in ovaries was observed by immunohistochemistry after transplantation of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled ADSCs. Serial sections of ovaries were prepared for histological analysis, follicle counting, and immunohistochemistry for Ki67 and Cleaved-Caspase-3. For the assessment of fertility, rats were mated with proven fertile male rats for 10 days.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The (18)F-FDG signal decreased more slowly in ovaries injected with collagen/ADSCs than in ovaries with injected with ADSCs alone. Significantly more GFP-positive cells were observed in ovaries injected with collagen/GFP-ADSCs than in ovaries injected with GFP-ADSCs alone up to 14 days after the injection. However, in both groups very few GFP-positive cells were present at 4 weeks after transplantation. The collagen/ADSCs and ADSCs groups both showed better estrous cycle recovery than the PBS and collagen groups. The estradiol (E2) level in the collagen/ADSCs group was significantly increased compared with that of the PBS group ( ITALIC! P < 0.05). The number of antral follicles in the collagen/ADSCs group and the ADSCs group significantly increased compared with the PBS group ( ITALIC! P < 0.05). The granulosa cell proliferation in the collagen/ADSCs group was better than in the PBS group ( ITALIC! P < 0.01). The mating rates of the collagen/ADSCs group (88.9%) and the ADSCs group (90.9%) were higher than that of PBS group (60%, ITALIC! P < 0.05). The pregnancy rates of the collagen/ADSCs group (77.8%) and the ADSCs group (72.7%) were higher than the PBS group (50%, ITALIC! P < 0.05).

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: We chose ADSCs for their accessibility, convenience and safety. We did not use other cells or materials for POI treatments to show that the collagen/ADSCs are the most promising materials.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Soluble collagen scaffolds may be useful in stem cells transplantation therapy for POI.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS: This work is supported by grants from the 'Strategic Priority Research Program' of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA01030000); Maternal-Fetal Medicine from Jiangsu Province Health Department of China (XK2011027); Clinical Center of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Genetic Diseases, Nanjing Health Department of Jiangsu Province, China; Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (20620140652). The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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