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Title: Investigating follicle development using in vitro technologies
Author: Lo, Belinda
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 0173
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Patients with dysfunctional ovaries, such as those with premature ovarian insufficiency and granulosa cell tumours, do not have normal follicle development and may not respond to traditional assisted reproductive techniques. Using the reaggregated ovary (RO) technique, these patients' oocytes may be reaggregated with functional supporting cells and cultured in vitro to develop fertilisable eggs. However, current research using ROs have only used murine ovaries as a somatic cell source. In this thesis, with the aim of moving towards a clinical treatment, we assessed follicle development in ROs in vitro and progressed to using the technique with human tissues. To assess whether an older murine somatic cell source resulted in advanced follicle development, and how follicle development differed between transplanted and cultured ROs, ROs were generated using postnatal day 2 (P2) and P6 mouse ovaries. To investigate theca cell development in follicles from cultured tissue, mouse ovaries were cultured with mouse serum or encapsulated in hyaluronan hydrogels. Prior to generating and culturing chimeric human-mouse ROs (HuMoROs), competent handling and digestion of bovine cortical tissue was required. Broadly, ROs generated from both P2 and P6 exhibited similar follicle development in vitro after 14 d of culture, and follicles from cultured ROs were more developed than those from transplanted ROs. Theca cell development observed in follicles from cultured ovaries was still poorer than those from in vivo ovaries, even when ovaries were cultured in mouse serum or encapsulated in a hyaluronan hydrogel. Finally, some follicles containing potential human oocytes developed within the generated HuMoROs after 7 d of culture. These results have highlighted the potential of the RO technique as a method to generate fertilisable eggs and identified further aspects which need to be targeted in order to improve the success of the technique.
Supervisor: Williams, Suzannah ; Wells, Dagan Sponsor: Clarendon Fund ; Medical Sciences Graduate School
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ovary ; Tissue culture ; Mouse ; Follicle development ; Human