Survival, growth, and maturation of secondary follicles from prepubertal, young, and older adult rhesus monkeys during encapsulated three-dimensional culture: Effects of gonadotropins and insulin

Jing Xu, Marcelo P. Bernuci, Maralee S. Lawson, Richard R. Yeoman, Thomas E. Fisher, Mary Zelinski, Richard Stouffer

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    93 Scopus citations


    A three-dimensional culture system supports the development of primate preantral follicles to the antral stage with appreciable steroid production. This study assessed i) whether in vitro developmental competence of follicles is age dependent, ii) the role of gonadotropins and insulin in supporting folliculogenesis, and iii) anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production by growing follicles. Ovaries were obtained from prepubertal, young, and older adult rhesus macaques. Secondary follicles were encapsulated into alginate beads and cultured individually for 40 days in media containing 0.05 or 5 μg/ml insulin, with or without recombinant human (rh) FSH (500 mIU/ml). No follicles survived in the culture without rhFSH. In the presence of rhFSH, survival was lower for follicles from older animals, whereas growth, i.e. follicle diameter, was less by day 40 for follicles from prepubertal animals. The surviving follicles were categorized as no-grow (NG; ≤250 μm), slow-grow (SG; 250-500 μm), and fast-grow (FG; ≥500 μm) according to their diameters. SG follicles cultured with 5 μg/ml insulin produced more ovarian steroids than those cultured with 0.05 μg/ml insulin by week 5. SG and FG follicles produced more AMH and VEGF than the NG, and levels peaked at weeks 2 and 5 respectively. After 100 ng/ml rh chorionic gonadotropin treatment for 34 h, more healthy oocytes were retrieved from young adults whose follicles were cultured with 5 μg/ml insulin. This culture system offers an opportunity to characterize the endocrine and paracrine function of primate follicles that influence follicle growth and oocyte maturation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)685-697
    Number of pages13
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Reproductive Medicine
    • Embryology
    • Endocrinology
    • Cell Biology

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