human ovary has been developed by researchers at Brown
University and Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island,
which could lead to infertility treatments for cancer patients and
advancements in fertility research.
Krotz, the study's lead author and a Houston fertility doctor; Sandra
Carson, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Warren Alpert
Medical School of Brown University and a senior author of the study;
and their team have already developed/used a lab-grown ovary to
mature human eggs.
ovary is composed of three main cell types, and this is the first
time that anyone has created a 3-D tissue structure with triple cell
line," said Carson.
artificial ovary was made by forming honeycombs of theca cells, which
is one of the three key types of cells in the ovary, that were
donated from patients ranging from ages 25-46. When the theca
into the shape of the honeycomb, human
egg cells and clumps of donated granulosa cells were placed
in the holes of the honeycomb. Within days, the theca cells enclosed
the granulosa and human eggs, acting like a real ovary.
ovary is made functional by bringing all three ovarian cell types
together into a 3D arrangement, which is exactly what Jeffrey Morgan,
associate professor of medical science and engineering and co-author
of the study, was able to do using 3D Petri dishes made out of a
moldable agarose gel. These dishes are made specifically to help
cells gather into certain shapes.
much experimentation, the researchers found that the artificial ovary
was able to nurture and mature eggs from the early antral follicle
stage to full maturity.
represents the first success in using 3-D tissue engineering
principles for in vitro oocyte maturation,"
said researchers in the journal article.
of research has the potential to preserve the fertility of
women about to undergo cancer treatment by freezing immature eggs and
allowing them to mature outside of the person in the artificial
ovary. In addition, having an artificial ovary helps researchers
understand how healthy ovaries work and investigate what kinds of
problems could lead to poor egg health and maturation.
study was published in the Journal
of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics.