Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 743–750 | Cite as

In vitro maturation of oocytes via the pre-fabricated self-assembled artificial human ovary

  • Stephan P. KrotzEmail author
  • Jared C. Robins
  • Toni-Marie Ferruccio
  • Richard Moore
  • Margaret M. Steinhoff
  • Jeffrey R. Morgan
  • Sandra Carson
Technical Innovations



Create a 3-Dimensional artificial human ovary to mature human oocytes.


Theca and granulosa cells were isolated from antral follicles of reproductive-aged women, seeded into micro-molded gels and self-assembled into complex 3D microtissues. Immunohistochemistry and live-dead staining confirmed theca cell identity and cellular viability at one week respectively. Placement of granulosa cell spheroids or cumulus-oocyte complexes into theca cell honeycomb openings resulted in creation of an artificial human ovary. Oocytes from this construct were assessed for polar body extrusion.


Theca and granulosa cells self-assembled into complex microtissues, remaining viable for one week. At 72 h after artificial human ovary construction, theca cells completely surrounded the granulosa spheroids or COCs without stromal invasion or disruption. Polar body extrusion occurred in one of three COCs assessed.


An artifical human ovary can be created with self-assembled human theca and granulosa cell microtissues, and used for IVM and future oocyte toxicology studies.


Artificial ovary In vitro maturation Oocytes Self-assembly Theca cells Tissue engineering 



This research was supported by Research Funds from the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at the Women & Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island, and by a grant from the Rhode Island Science and Technology Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan P. Krotz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jared C. Robins
    • 1
  • Toni-Marie Ferruccio
    • 4
  • Richard Moore
    • 2
  • Margaret M. Steinhoff
    • 3
  • Jeffrey R. Morgan
    • 4
  • Sandra Carson
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Women & Infants’ Hospital, Alpert Medical SchoolBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Program in Women’s Oncology, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Women & Infants’ Hospital, Alpert Medical SchoolBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, Women & Infants’ Hospital, Alpert Medical SchoolBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology & Biotechnology, Center for Biomedical EngineeringBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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