Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 41–48 | Cite as

A novel fibrin-based artificial ovary prototype resembling human ovarian tissue in terms of architecture and rigidity

  • Maria Costanza Chiti
  • Marie-Madeleine DolmansEmail author
  • Lucie Mortiaux
  • Flanco Zhuge
  • Emna Ouni
  • Parinaz Asiabi Kohneh Shahri
  • Evelyne Van Ruymbeke
  • Sophie-Demoustier Champagne
  • Jacques Donnez
  • Christiani Andrade Amorim
Fertility Preservation



The aim of this study is to optimize fibrin matrix composition in order to mimic human ovarian tissue architecture for human ovarian follicle encapsulation and grafting.


Ultrastructure of fresh human ovarian cortex in age-related women (n = 3) and different fibrin formulations (F12.5/T1, F30/T50, F50/T50, F75/T75), rheology of fibrin matrices and histology of isolated and encapsulated human ovarian follicles in these matrices.


Fresh human ovarian cortex showed a highly fibrous and structurally inhomogeneous architecture in three age-related patients, but the mean ± SD of fiber thickness (61.3 to 72.4 nm) was comparable between patients. When the fiber thickness of four different fibrin formulations was compared with human ovarian cortex, F50/T50 and F75/T75 showed similar fiber diameters to native tissue, while F12.5/T1 was significantly different (p value < 0.01). In addition, increased concentrations of fibrin exhibited enhanced storage modulus with F50/T50, resembling physiological ovarian rigidity. Excluding F12.5/T1 from further analysis, only three remaining fibrin matrices (F30/T50, F50/T50, F75/T75) were histologically investigated. For this, frozen-thawed fragments of human ovarian tissue collected from 22 patients were used to isolate ovarian follicles and encapsulate them in the three fibrin formulations. All three yielded similar follicle recovery and loss rates soon after encapsulation. Therefore, based on fiber thickness, porosity, and rigidity, we selected F50/T50 as the fibrin formulation that best mimics native tissue.


Of all the different fibrin matrix concentrations tested, F50/T50 emerged as the combination of choice in terms of ultrastructure and rigidity, most closely resembling human ovarian cortex.


Human ovarian tissue microstructure Scanning electron microscopy Fibrin matrix Porosity Isolated follicles Artificial ovary 



The authors thank Patricia Meijers for her collaboration and scientific advice on fibrin in the project. They also thank Mira Hryniuk, BA, for reviewing the English language of the manuscript and Delphine Magnin, Dolores Gonzalez, and Olivier Van Kerk for their technical assistance. This study was supported by grants from the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique de Belgique (FNRS) awarded to C. A. Amorim as a research associate for the FRS-FNRS and M.M. Dolmans (grant 5/4/150/5), Fonds Spéciaux de Recherche, Fondation St Luc, Foundation Against Cancer, and Wallonie-Bruxelles International, and donations from the Ferrero family.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Costanza Chiti
    • 1
  • Marie-Madeleine Dolmans
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lucie Mortiaux
    • 3
  • Flanco Zhuge
    • 3
  • Emna Ouni
    • 1
  • Parinaz Asiabi Kohneh Shahri
    • 1
  • Evelyne Van Ruymbeke
    • 3
  • Sophie-Demoustier Champagne
    • 3
  • Jacques Donnez
    • 4
  • Christiani Andrade Amorim
    • 1
  1. 1.Pôle de Recherche en Gynécologie, Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et CliniqueUniversité Catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Gynecology DepartmentCliniques Universitaires Saint-LucBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, Bio and Soft MatterUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  4. 4.Society for Research into InfertilityBrusselsBelgium

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