26 September 2018
The increasing number of patients with ovarian insufficiency due to autoimmune disorders, genetic predisposition, or iatrogenic effects of treatment such as cancer therapies necessitates an urgent measure to find a safe and transplantable alternative ovary. A bioengineered ovary is one of the strategies on which the researchers have recently been working. An engineered ovary should be able to mimic the natural ovary aspects. Recent studies suggest that the decellularized organ-specific extracellular matrix-based scaffolds can serve as a native niche to bioengineering artificial organs. Therefore, we established a human decellularized ovarian scaffold based on a sodium lauryl ester sulfate (SLES)-treated process, as an optimized protocol.
The human ovary samples were decellularized with 1% SLES for 48 h followed by DNase I in PBS for 24 h, and then thoroughly rinsed in PBS to remove the cell remnants and chemical reagents. Efficient cell removal was confirmed by DNA content analysis, hematoxylin and eosin, and Hoechst staining. Preservation assessment of the extracellular matrix structures was performed by immunohistochemistry, histological staining, and scanning electron microscopy. An MTT test was done to assess the in vitro scaffold’s cytocompatibility, and finally in vivo studies were performed to evaluate the biocompatibility, bioactivity, and secretion functions of the ovarian grafts made of primary ovarian cells (POCs) on the decellularized scaffolds.
Evidence provided by SEM, histochemical, and immunohistochemical analyses showed that the ovarian extracellular matrix was preserved after decellularization. Moreover, MTT test indicated the suitable cytocompatibility of the scaffolds. The in vivo assessment showed that the POCs kept their viability and bioactivity, and reconstructed the primordial or primary follicle-like structures within the scaffolds after transplantation. Immunostaining characterized somatic cells that were capable of expressing steroid hormone receptors; also, as a marker of granulosa cell, inhibin-α immunostaining demonstrated these cells within the grafts. Additionally, hormone assessment showed that serum estradiol and progesterone levels were significantly higher in ovariectomized rats with ovarian cells-seeded grafts than those with or without decellularized scaffold grafts.
A human ovary-specific scaffold based on a SLES-decellularized protocol as a biomimicry of the natural ovarian niche can be an ideal scaffold used to reconstruct the ovary.