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See detailIn vitro evaluation of an anti-apoptotic drug, Z-VAD-FMK, for further use in ovarian tissue transplantation
Fransolet, Maïté ULg; HENRY, Laurie ULg; LABIED, Soraya ULg et al

Poster (2015, June 14)

Study question: In a model reproducing early ischemia after ovarian tissue transplantation, does the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK could prevent granulosa cell apoptosis? Summary answer: Results ... [more ▼]

Study question: In a model reproducing early ischemia after ovarian tissue transplantation, does the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK could prevent granulosa cell apoptosis? Summary answer: Results obtained with HGL5 granulosa cell line suggest that Z-VAD-FMK is efficient to protect granulosa cells from etoposide or CoCl2 induced apoptosis. What is known already: Removal, cryopreservation and subsequent graft of ovarian strips after cancer treatment have been successfully used to re-establish female fertility. However, the pregnancy rate after autografting of cryopreserved tissue is about 30%. Indeed, the major problem after transplantation is follicular loss due to ischemic reperfusion injury. Study design, size, duration: Three human granulosa cell lines (GC1a, HGL5 and COV434) were cultured during 48h with Z-VAD-FMK with or without etoposide to induce apoptosis. To reproduce the ischemic phase of the graft, cells were cultured without serum under reduced O2 (1%) or with CoCl2 (chemical hypoxia). Participants/materials, setting, methods: Granulosa cells were used as a model since they are essential for oocyte survival. Metabolic cell activity was evaluated by the WST-1 assay. Cell apoptosis was analyzed by flow cytometry after annexin V-FITC and propidium iodide double staining. The mRNA levels and protein expression of apoptotic markers were evaluated using RT-qPCR and western blot analysis. Main results and the role of chance: Flow cytometry showed that cells co-treated with etoposide and Z-VAD-FMK displayed a higher percentage of viable cells as compared to etoposide alone. When in vivo ischemic stage was mimicked (1% O2), no beneficial effect of the Z-VAD-FMK was detected. However, a significant decrease of the number of early apoptotic cells was evidenced by flow cytometry for HGL5 cells treated with Z-VAD-FMK. RT-qPCR and western blot analysis revealed that apoptotic molecules were not modulated. Metabolic activity of the 3 cell lines was reduced by CoCl2. For HGL5 cells, this decrease was partially reversed by Z-VAD-FMK. The number of viable cells was reduced by CoCl2 in HGL5 cells but Z-VAD-FMK allowed to preserve a similar number of viable and apoptotic cells than in control condition. Limitations, reasons for caution: In this study we used 3 different cell lines but granulosa cells represent only a part of the cell types present in ovarian tissue biopsies. Experiences on the effect of Z-VAD-FMK on primary culture of granulosa cells have not yet been realized. Wider implications of the findings: This study suggests that the use of an antiapoptotic drug could be efficient to improve ovarian tissue transplantation outcomes. Ovarian tissue grafting studies using our xenograft murine model will be performed to test the potential efficacy of this drug to improve tissue viability and primordial follicles preservation after transplantation. [less ▲]

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See detailIn vitro evaluation of the anti-apoptotic drug Z-VAD-FMK on human ovarian granulosa cell lines for further use in ovarian tissue transplantation.
Fransolet, Maïté ULg; HENRY, Laurie ULg; Labied, Soraya et al

in Journal of Assisted Reproduction & Genetics (2015)

PURPOSE: Because ovarian granulosa cells are essential for oocyte survival, we examined three human granulosa cell lines as models to evaluate the ability of the pan-caspase inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl ... [more ▼]

PURPOSE: Because ovarian granulosa cells are essential for oocyte survival, we examined three human granulosa cell lines as models to evaluate the ability of the pan-caspase inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethyl ketone (Z-VAD-FMK) to prevent primordial follicle loss after ovarian tissue transplantation. METHODS: To validate the efficacy of Z-VAD-FMK, three human granulosa cell lines (GC1a, HGL5, COV434) were treated for 48 h with etoposide (50 mug/ml) and/or Z-VAD-FMK (50 muM) under normoxic conditions. To mimic the ischemic phase that occurs after ovarian fragment transplantation, cells were cultured without serum under hypoxia (1 % O2) and treated with Z-VAD-FMK. The metabolic activity of the cells was evaluated by WST-1 assay. Cell viability was determined by FACS analyses. The expression of apoptosis-related molecules was assessed by RT-qPCR and Western blot analyses. RESULTS: Our assessment of metabolic activity and FACS analyses in the normoxic experiments indicate that Z-VAD-FMK protects granulosa cells from etoposide-induced cell death. When cells are exposed to hypoxia and serum starvation, their metabolic activity is reduced. However, Z-VAD-FMK does not provide a protective effect. In the hypoxic experiments, the number of viable cells was not modulated, and we did not observe any modifications in the expressions of apoptosis-related molecules (p53, Bax, Bcl-xl, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP)). CONCLUSION: The death of granulosa cell lines was not induced in our ischemic model. Therefore, a protective effect of Z-VAD-FMK in vitro for further use in ovarian tissue transplantation could not be directly confirmed. It will be of interest to potentially use Z-VAD-FMK in vivo in xenograft models. [less ▲]

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See detailInfluence of mouse strain on ovarian tissue recovery after engraftment with angiogenic factor.
Fransolet, Maïté ULg; Henry, Laurie ULg; Labied, Soraya et al

in Journal of Ovarian Research (2015), 8(1), 14

BACKGROUND: For women facing gonadotoxic treatment, cryopreservation of ovarian tissue with subsequent retransplantation during remission is a promising technique for fertility preservation. However ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: For women facing gonadotoxic treatment, cryopreservation of ovarian tissue with subsequent retransplantation during remission is a promising technique for fertility preservation. However, follicle loss within grafted ovarian tissue can be caused by ischemia and progressive revascularization. Several xenograft models using different immunodeficient rodent lines are suitable for studying ovarian tissue survival and follicular viability after frozen-thawed ovarian cortex transplantation. SCID mice, which are deficient for functional B and T cells, are the most commonly used mice for ovarian xenograft studies. However, due to incomplete immunosuppression, NOD-SCID mice displaying low NK cell function and an absence of circulating complement might be more appropriate. The present study aims to define the most appropriate immunodeficient mouse strain for ovarian tissue xenotransplantation by comparing ovarian graft recovery in SCID and NOD-SCID mice following engraftment in the presence of isoform 111 of vascular endothelial growth factor. METHODS: Sheep ovarian cortex fragments were embedded in a collagen matrix, with or without VEGF111, before being stitched onto the ovaries of SCID and NOD-SCID mice. Transplants were recovered after 3 days to study early revascularization or after 3 weeks to evaluate follicle preservation and tissue fibrosis through histological analyses. RESULTS: At day 3, vessels were largely reorganized in the ovarian grafts of both mouse strains. After 3 weeks, the cortical tissue was clearly identifiable in SCID mice but not in NOD-SCID mice. Upon VEGF111 treatment, vascularization was significantly improved 3 days after transplantation in SCID mice. This increase in vessel density was correlated with better follicular preservation in SCID mice 3 weeks after transplantation. Fibrosis was not decreased by VEGF treatment in either mouse strain. CONCLUSIONS: Tissue architecture and follicular morphology were better preserved in ovarian tissues grafted in SCID mice in comparison with NOD-SCID mice. Moreover, tissue revascularization was improved in SCID mice by VEGF111 graft treatment. Thus, we consider SCID mice to be the best murine model for studying ovarian tissue xenografts. [less ▲]

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See detailIsoform 165 of vascular endothelial growth factor in collagen matrix improves ovine cryopreserved ovarian tissue revascularisation after xenotransplantation in mice.
Henry, Laurie ULg; LABIED, Soraya ULg; Fransolet, Maïté ULg et al

in Reproductive biology and endocrinology (2015), 13(1), 15

BACKGROUND: Aggressive anti-cancer treatments can result in ovarian failure. Ovarian cryopreservation has been developed to preserve the fertility of young women, but early graft revascularisation still ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Aggressive anti-cancer treatments can result in ovarian failure. Ovarian cryopreservation has been developed to preserve the fertility of young women, but early graft revascularisation still requires improvement. METHODS: Frozen/thawed sheep ovarian cortical biopsies were embedded in collagen matrix with or without isoform 165 of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF165) and transplanted into ovaries of immunodeficient mice. Ovaries were chosen as transplantation sites to more closely resemble clinical conditions in which orthotopic transplantation has previously allowed several spontaneous pregnancies. RESULTS: We found that VEGF165 significantly increased the number of Dextran-FITC positive functional vessels 3 days after grafting. Dextran- fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) positive vessels were detectable in 53% and 29% of the mice in the VEGF-treated and control groups, respectively. Among these positive fragments, 50% in the treated group displayed mature smooth-muscle-actin-alpha (alpha-SMA) positive functional vessels compared with 0% in the control group. CD31 positive murine blood vessels were observed in 40% of the VEGF165 transplants compared with 21% of the controls. After 3 weeks, the density of murine vessels was significantly higher in the VEGF165 group. CONCLUSION: The encapsulation of ovarian tissue in collagen matrix in the presence of VEGF165 before grafting has a positive effect on functional blood vessel recruitment. It can be considered as a useful technique to be improved and further developed before human clinical applications in female cancer patients in the context of fertility preservation. [less ▲]

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See detailStrategies for Using the Sheep Ovarian Cortex as a Model in Reproductive Medicine
Fransolet, Maïté ULg; Labied, Soraya ULg; Henry, Laurie ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2014), 9(3), 91073

Objective: To evaluate and compare the distribution and density of primordial follicles within a whole sheep ovary and to gain insight into how to overcome the impact of natural follicular heterogeneity ... [more ▼]

Objective: To evaluate and compare the distribution and density of primordial follicles within a whole sheep ovary and to gain insight into how to overcome the impact of natural follicular heterogeneity on the experimental results. Design: Histological study. Setting: Academic research center. Animals: Five- to nine-month-old ewes. Interventions: Freshly sampled whole sheep ovaries were collected and prepared for histological analysis. Main Outcome Measure(s): The follicular densities and distributions were determined for hematoxylin and eosin sections. A mathematical model was derived based on the follicle counts and Monte-Carlo simulations. Results: Heterogeneous distributions and densities of primordial follicles were identified 1) for distinct areas of the same ovarian cortex, 2) between the ovaries of the same animal and 3) across different ewes. A mathematical model based on the analysis of 37,153 primordial follicles from 8 different ovaries facilitated the estimation of the number of cortical biopsies and sections that had to be analyzed to overcome such heterogeneity. Conclusion: The influence of physiological follicular heterogeneity on experimental and clinical results can be overcome when a definite number of cortical pieces and sections are taken into consideration. [less ▲]

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