Retrievable hydrogels for ovarian follicle transplantation and oocyte collection.

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Retrievable hydrogels for ovarian follicle transplantation and oocyte collection.

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2018 Apr 28;:

Authors: Rios PD, Kniazeva E, Lee HC, Xiao S, Oakes RS, Saito E, Jeruss JS, Shikanov A, Woodruff TK, Shea LD


Cancer survivorship rates have drastically increased due to improved efficacy of oncologic treatments. Consequently, clinical concerns have shifted from solely focusing on survival to quality of life, with fertility preservation as an important consideration. Among fertility preservation strategies for female patients, ovarian tissue cryopreservation and subsequent re-implantation has been the only clinical option available to cancer survivors with cryopreserved tissue. However, follicle atresia post-transplantation and risk of re-introducing malignant cells have prevented this procedure from becoming widely adopted in clinics. Herein, we investigated the encapsulation of ovarian follicles in alginate hydrogels that isolate the graft from the host, yet allows for maturation following transplantation at a heterotopic (i.e. subcutaneous) site, a process we termed in vivo follicle maturation. Survival of multiple follicle populations was confirmed via histology, with notable development of the antral follicles. Collected oocytes (63%) exhibited polar body extrusion and were fertilized by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and standard IVF procedures. Successfully fertilized oocytes developed to the pro-nucleus (14%), 2-cell (36%), and 4-cell (7%) stages. Furthermore, ovarian follicles co-transplanted with metastatic breast cancer cells within the hydrogels allowed for retrieval of the follicles, and no mice developed tumors post-removal of the implant, supporting that the hydrogel prevented seeding of disease within the host. Collectively, these findings demonstrate a viable option for safe use of potentially cancer-laden ovarian donor tissue for in vivo follicle maturation within a retrievable hydrogel and subsequent oocyte collection. Ultimately, this technology may provide novel options to preserve fertility for young female cancer patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID: 29704433 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]