Effects of Three-Dimensional Sodium Alginate Scaffold on Maturation and Developmental Gene Expressions in Fresh and Vitrified Preantral Follicles of Mice

Document Type : Original Article


1 Medical Biology Research Center, Health Technology Ins titute, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Anatomy Department, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Prior to chemotherapy interventions, in vitro maturation (IVM) of folliclesthrough vitrification can be
used to help young people conserve their fertility.

Materials and Methods: 
This experimental study was conducted on immature female BALB/c mice (12-14 days).
Follicles were gathered mechanically and placed in α-Minimal Essential Medium (α-MEM) containing 5% fetal bovine
serum (FBS). Some pre-antral follicles were frozen. The fresh and vitrified follicles were cultured in different
concentrations of sodium alginate (0.25%, 0.5%, and 1%) and two dimensional (2D) medium for 12 days. The samples
were evaluated for viability percentage, the number of MII-phase oocytes and reactive oxygen specious (ROS)
level. Additionally, Gdf9, Bmp15, Bmp7, Bmp4, Gpx, mnSOD and Gcs gene expressions were assessed in the samples.

Results: The highest and lowest percentages of follicle viability and maturation in the fresh and vitrified groups were respectively
0.5% concentration and 2D culture. There was no significant difference among the concentrations of 0.25% and
1%. Viability and maturation of follicles showed a significant increase in the fresh groups in comparison with the vitrified
groups. ROS levels in the both fresh and vitrified groups with different concentrations of alginate showed a significant decrease
compared to the control group. ROS levels in follicles showed a significant decrease in the fresh groups in comparison
with the vitrified groups (P≤0.0001). The highest gene expression levels were observed in the 0.5% alginate (P≤0.0001).
Moreover, the viability percentage, follicle maturation, and gene expression levels were higher in the fresh groupsthan the
vitrified groups (P≤0.0001).

Alginate hydrogel at a proper concentration of 5%, not only helps follicle get mature, but also promotes
the expression of developmental genes and reducesthe level of intracellular ROS. Follicular vitrification decreases
quality of the follicles, which are partially compensated using a three dimensional (3D) cell culture medium.