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Hum Reprod. 2010 Jun;25(6):1458-70. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deq055. Epub 2010 Mar 18.

Xenotransplantation of cryopreserved human ovarian tissue into murine back muscle.

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  • 1Department of Reproductive Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.



Ovarian tissue (OT) cryopreservation and transplantation are options for fertility preservation in young female cancer patients.


We investigated xenotransplantation of human OT into back muscle (B) of severe combined immunodeficiency mice. OT follicle content was evaluated by stereomicroscopy and pre-transplantation. Xenograft survival, follicular development (with/without FSH administration), apoptosis and vascularization were compared in B- versus K-site (under the kidney capsule) several times after grafting using histology, immunohistochemistry and magnetic resonance imaging. In vitro maturation (IVM) was also performed.


Anastomoses which developed from existing human and invading murine vessels were seen in OT at both sites, but angiogenesis was more prominent at the B- than K-site (P < 0.001). Vascularization and follicle size were correlated in the B-group (Spearman's coefficient 0.73; P < 0.001). FSH increased early (8 days) micro-vessel formation in B but not in K grafts (P < 0.0001, versus no FSH). B-site grafts showed a better histological morphology and survival (P = 0.0084), formation of larger antral follicles (P = 0.005), more metaphase-II (MII) oocytes, growing follicles (P = 0.028) and slightly fewer apoptotic follicles than K grafts. One MI oocyte from B underwent IVM and reached MII stage next day.


To our knowledge, this is the first report of MII and IVM-MII oocytes obtained from B xenografts. We report the largest oval-shaped antral follicles containing an MII oocyte obtained after OT xenotransplantation to date. Xenografting in the mouse B should be further explored as a method for human OT transplantation.

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