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Hum Reprod. 1994 Apr;9(4):597-603.

Restoration of fertility to oophorectomized sheep by ovarian autografts stored at -196 degrees C.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University Medical School, Edinburgh, UK.


Cortical slices were prepared from the right ovaries of six lambs and either grafted directly to the ovarian pedicles of origin or cooled slowly to liquid nitrogen temperatures in medium containing dimethylsulphoxide. Three weeks later, the contra-lateral ovary was removed and replaced with frozen-thawed slices from the same animal. Two of the animals mated during their second oestrous cycle 3-4 months later and the remainder had at least one ovulatory cycle. The pregnancies reached full-term development, one lamb being derived from an ovulation in a fresh graft and the other from a frozen-thawed graft. None of the sheep had peripheral plasma concentrations of follicle stimulating hormone or luteinizing hormone consistently in the castrate range, and only one graft was devoid of follicles when the animals were slaughtered 9 months after the operations. Grafts with primordial follicles always contained developing follicles, which occasionally attained pre-ovulatory sizes of 7 mm in diameter. A corpus albicans was present in five grafts. Since all developing follicles had degenerated 1 week after grafting in an additional ewe, the large follicles in long-term grafts had presumably commenced growing after the operation. There were no obvious differences between fresh and frozen-thawed grafts in either appearance or weight, and all had apparently grown since implantation. Despite substantial depletion of primordial follicle numbers, the results indicated that frozen storage and replacement of a patient's own ovarian tissue might be practicable when fertility potential is threatened by chemotherapy/radiotherapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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