Biomimetic approach for the development of artificial ovary: first promising results
20 September 2018 (online)
Ovarian tissue cryopreservation before gonadotoxic anti-cancer treatment and retransplantation of frozen-thawed tissue is an innovative fertility preservation method. Nevertheless, patients with moderate-to-high risk of ovarian metastasis cannot benefit due to the risk to reintroduce malignant cells. A promising alternative is grafting an auto-artificial ovary by seeding isolated follicles in an artificial matrix. The novelty of this work is represented by the use of a biomimetic approach for the matrix fabrication resembling the human ovarian tissue morphology.
Materials and methods:
Four different kinds of samples with fibrillary morphology were prepared; differing in fiber organization and biomaterials. Porcine follicles were isolated enzymatically from ovarian tissue pieces and incubated for 10, 16 or 30 days with the developed matrix. After incubation, follicle viability was evaluated via Life&Dead-Assay; follicle morphology was analyzed by fluorescent f-actin staining; follicle-biomaterial morphological interaction was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
The number of viable follicles (> 90% granulosa cells alive) was > 94% in all samples; a significant difference (p-value < 0.001) could be observed comparing different biomaterials (labelled A and B) (98.8% vs. 94.3% viable follicles). Only 15.1% of all follicles showed an atypical morphology in sample A, whereas 51.4% were atypical in B; morphological differences between sample A and B were significant (p-value < 0.001). Follicles adhesion and morphological interaction with the substrate was confirmed by SEM observation.
These results are promising as the follicles are supported by the developed matrix. Ongoing studies are focusing on the evaluation of functionalized matrix to improve follicles-matrix interaction.