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Mol Hum Reprod. 2013 Apr;19(4):205-15. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gas053. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

The effects of whole ovarian perfusion and cryopreservation on endothelial cell-related gene expression in the ovarian medulla and pedicle.

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Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Clinical Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK.


Fertility preservation by whole ovarian cryopreservation requires successful cryopreservation of both the ovary and its vascular supply. Previous work has indicated detrimental effects of both perfusion and cryopreservation on the ovarian vasculature. This study assessed the effects of blood perfusion, alone or in combination with cryopreservation, on functional effects in the follicle population and ovarian function in vivo following short-term autotransplantation of the tissue after vascular reanastomosis and measured acute changes in endothelial cell-related gene expression within the ovarian medulla and pedicle. Following autotransplantation for 7 days, primordial, transitional and primary follicle densities were significantly reduced (P < 0.05) and stromal Ki67 and caspase-3 expression significantly increased (P < 0.05) in cryopreserved but not fresh or perfused whole ovaries. There was evidence of clot formation and fluorescent microsphere (FMS) extravasation in the medulla of all cryopreserved ovaries, indicating vascular damage. Utilizing a customized RT-PCR array or conventional RT-PCR, we found that perfusion alone resulted in down-regulation in the expression of caspase 6 and thrombospondin 1 (THBS1) genes in the medulla. Following additional cryopreservation, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), endothelin 1, endothelin receptor A and Bcl-2 expression were significantly (P < 0.05) down-regulated. In the pedicle, both perfusion and cryopreservation caused a (P < 0.05) down-regulation of eNOS and THBS1, and an up-regulation in Bax expression. Perfusion also caused a down-regulation of TNF and up-regulation of endothelin-2 expression (P < 0.05). In conclusion, this study has identified a number of endothelial cell-related genes expressed in the medulla which are acutely affected by both cryopreservation and perfusion, supporting the hypothesis that both interventions have deleterious effects on endothelial cell function.

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