Young female patients who receive chemotherapy frequently face premature ovarian failure (POF). The therapeutic potential of stem cells in these patients has been explored in stem cells derived from different sources. However, many of these types of stem cells are either difficult to obtain or obtaining them involves invasive procedures. Here, we show that menstrual-derived stem cells (MenSCs) are easy to access and exhibit mesenchymal stem cell-like properties. MenSCs are therefore a novel source of stem cells that can be used for tissue repair. The aim of this study was to explore the reparative capacity and the mechanism underlying the activities of MenSCs.
POF mouse models were established by 7 consecutive days of intraperitoneal injection of cisplatin, and then MenSCs or MenSC-derived conditioned media (CM) were infused via the tail vein. The ovaries were excised after either 7 or 21 days of treatment and the follicles were counted and categorized. Apoptosis of granulosa cells was observed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated dUTP nick end labelling staining. Ovarian function was evaluated by monitoring serum sex hormone levels. Furthermore, MenSC tracking, Q-PCR, and small interfering RNA transfection were used to reveal the inner mechanism of repair.
MenSC transplantation could improve the ovarian microenvironment by reducing apoptosis in granulosa cells and the fibrosis of ovarian interstitium, which contributes to increase the follicular numbers and return sex hormone levels to normal values. Meanwhile, the transplanted MenSCs directively migrate to ovarian interstitium to play a role in repair rather than differentiate to oocytes directly. Additionally, MenSCs and CM derived from these cells exerted protective effects on damaged ovaries partially by secreting FGF2.