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Transplantation. 2013 Feb 15;95(3):426-33. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e318279965c.

Isoform 111 of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF111) improves angiogenesis of ovarian tissue xenotransplantation.

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Laboratory of Tumor and Development Biology, Groupe Interdisciplinaire de Génoprotéomique Appliqué (GIGA-R), Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium.



Cryopreservation of cortex ovarian tissue before anticancer therapy is a promising technique for fertility preservation mainly in children and young women. Ischemia in the early stage after ovarian graft causes massive follicle loss by apoptosis. VEGF111 is a recently described vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoform that does not bind to the extracellular matrix, diffuses extensively, and is resistant to proteolysis. These properties confer a significantly higher angiogenic potential to VEGF111 in comparison with the other VEGF isoforms.


We evaluated the morphology of cryopreserved sheep ovarian cortex grafted in the presence or absence of VEGF111. Ovarian cortex biopsies were embedded in type I collagen with or without VEGF111 addition before transplantation to severe combined immunodeficient mice ovaries. Transplants were retrieved 3 days or 3 weeks later. Follicular density, vasculature network, hemoglobin content, and cell proliferation were analyzed.


Addition of VEGF111 increased density of functional capillaries (P=0.01) 3 days after grafting. By double immunostaining of Ki-67 and von Willebrand factor, we demonstrated that proliferating endothelial cells were found in 83% of the VEGF111 group compared with 33% in the control group (P=0.001). This angiostimulation was associated with a significant enhancement of hemoglobin content (P=0.03). Three weeks after transplantation, the number of primary follicles was significantly higher in VEGF111 grafts (P=0.02).


VEGF111 accelerates blood vessel recruitment and functional angiogenesis and improves the viability of ovarian cortex by limiting ischemia and ovarian cortex damage.

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