Ovarian tissue culture in the presence of VEGF and fetuin stimulates follicle growth and steroidogenesis

    1. Farid Abolhassani1
    1. 1Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran
    2. 2Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Arash Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
    3. 3School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran
    4. 4Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
    5. 5Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran
    6. 6One Fertility, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    7. 7Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to F Abolhassani; Email: abolhasani.f{at}yahoo.com


    Ovarian tissue cryopreservation together with follicle culture provides a promising technique for fertility preservation in cancer patients. The study aimed to evaluate follicle parameters in a culture medium supplemented with VEGFA165 and/or fetuin. Vitrified-warmed ovarian cortical pieces were divided randomly into four culture groups consisting of basic culture medium (control), and the basic culture medium supplemented with VEGFA165, fetuin or both. After six days of culture, we evaluated the following: percentage of resting, primary and secondary growing follicles; survival rate; steroid hormones production; levels of reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation and total antioxidant capacity; and developmental and antioxidant gene expression. The addition of VEGFA165 alone or in combination with fetuin to the culture medium caused resting follicle activation and increased the number of growing follicles. In the VEGFA165 group, we found a significant increase in the concentrations of 17β-estradiol at day 6 and progesterone from 4th day of the culture period. In the VEGFA165 + fetuin group, the concentration of 17β-estradiol rose at day 4 of the culture period. The levels of BMP15, GDF9 and INHB mRNAs were increased in all treated groups. In the fetuin and fetuin + VEGFA165 groups, we observed a high level of total antioxidant capacity and expression of SOD1 and CAT genes, low reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation levels and increased number of viable follicles. In conclusion, the present study provides useful evidence that supplementation of culture medium with VEGFA165 + fetuin leads to primordial follicle activation and development and increased percentage of healthy secondary growing follicles.

    • Received 11 November 2016
    • Accepted 16 November 2016
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 16 November 2016
    | Table of Contents