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Fertility Preservation in Female Cancer Patients: A First Approach to Culture Early Stage Human Follicles after Cryopreservation

Monday, 30 June, 2008 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Health Campus
Faculty: Medicine and Pharmacy
auditorium P. Brouwer
Jean Clair Sadeu
phd defence

For some cancers, there are concerns about
cryopreserved ovarian tissue transplantation
because ovarian tissue grafts may harbor
malignant cells, causing relapse of the disease. In
that respect, in vitro growth of oocytes within
ovarian tissue is the safest possible option.
The overall aim of this research project was to
explore models for developing a technique for in
vitro growth of early stage human follicles from
cryopreserved ovarian tissue.

Morphological and morphometric parameters of
follicular development in vivo in guinea pig were
determined for the set up of a follicle culture
system in this species as a model for human
follicle culture.

A defined culture medium was tested for its
efficacy to allow the initiation of follicular growth,
development, and viability during culture of
frozen-thawed human fetal follicles, as well as
frozen-thawed human pre-pubertal/adult follicles.
The expression of some important markers of
granulosa cells (AMH) and oocytes (GDF-9) was
assessed for the characterization of the culture
system.

Better understanding of AMH, GDF-9, and BMP-
15 implication in follicular development in vitro
was studied in cultured mouse primary follicles,
and ovaries.

A culture system that leads to the growth of
cryopreserved human primordial follicles to
secondary follicles was determined. It supports
oocytes and granulosa cells functions over a
relatively long period of culture in vitro. The
pattern of differentiated gene expression (GDF-9,
AMH & BMP-15) in primary follicles grown in vitro
remained comparable to the in vivo situation.