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FSH prevents depletion of the resting follicle pool by promoting follicular number and morphology in fresh and cryopreserved primate ovarian tissues following xenografting

Viktoria von Schönfeldt12, Ramesh Chandolia2, Robert Ochsenkühn3, Eberhard Nieschlag2, Ludwig Kiesel4 and Barbara Sonntag45*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Campus Grosshadern Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany

2 Center for Reproductive Medicine and Andrology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany

3 Center for Reproductive Medicine, Munich, Germany

4 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany

5 Zentrum für Endokrinologie, Kinderwunsch und Pränatale Medizin, MVZ amedes, Hamburg, Germany

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Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2012, 10:98  doi:10.1186/1477-7827-10-98

Published: 24 November 2012



Cryopreservation and transplantation of ovarian tissue is one option for re-establishing ovarian function, but optimal conditions for graft sustainment and follicular survival are still considered experimental. The present study aims to analyze the effect of FSH treatment on the resting follicle pool in fresh and cryopreserved primate ovarian tissues following xenografting.


Ovarian tissues from adult marmosets were grafted freshly or following cryopreservation to ovarectomized nude mice treated with FSH 25 IU twice daily post transplantation or left untreated as controls. Grafts were retrieved 2 or 4 weeks after transplantation to evaluate the number and morphological appearance of follicles.


Early start of FSH treatment within 1 week following transplantation partly prevents primordial follicle loss in fresh and frozen-thawed tissues, whereas after a 3 weeks time interval this effect is present only in fresh tissues. A similar positive effect of early, but not later FSH treatment on primary follicles is seen in fresh tissues compared to only marginal effects in frozen-thawed tissues. The percentage of morphologically normal follicles is generally increased in FSH treated tissues, whereas the percentage of primary follicles over all primordial and primary follicles is increased by FSH only in freshly-grafted tissues.


FSH treatment alleviates depletion of the resting follicle pool and promotes normal follicular morphology both in freshly and frozen-thawed grafted tissues. In previously cryopreserved tissues, applying to most of the tissues intended for clinical use in fertility preservation attempts, its positive effect on primordial follicle numbers and potential graft sustainment is dependent on an early start of treatment within one week of transplantation.

Ovary; Cryopreservation; Xenografting; Fertility preservation; FSH