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BACKGROUND Young female adult and adolescent cancer patients facing life-preserving but fertility-threatening chemo- or radiation-therapy are increasingly seeking options to protect their reproductive potential. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation with transplantation is a promising technique to safeguard fertility in cancer patients. However, this method may(More)
In vitro ovarian follicle cultures may provide fertility-preserving options to women facing premature infertility due to cancer therapies. An encapsulated three-dimensional (3-D) culture system utilizing biomaterials to maintain cell-cell communication and support follicle development to produce a mature oocyte has been developed for the mouse. We tested(More)
Oocytes grown in vitro are of low quality and yield few live births, thus limiting the ability to store or bank the ova of women wishing to preserve their fertility. We applied tissue engineering principles to the culture of immature mouse follicles by designing an alginate hydrogel matrix to maintain the oocyte's 3- dimensional (3D) architecture and(More)
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the possible role of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) on female reproductive disorders emphasizing developmental plasticity and the complexity of endocrine-dependent ontogeny of reproductive organs. Declining conception rates and the high incidence of female reproductive disruptions warrant evaluation of the impact of EDCs on(More)
Cellular metal ion fluxes are known in alkali and alkaline earth metals but are not well documented in transition metals. Here we describe major changes in the zinc physiology of the mammalian oocyte as it matures and initiates embryonic development. Single-cell elemental analysis of mouse oocytes by synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM)(More)
TGF-beta ligands stimulate diverse cellular differentiation and growth responses by signaling through type I and II receptors. Ligand antagonists, such as follistatin, block signaling and are essential regulators of physiological responses. Here we report the structure of activin A, a TGF-beta ligand, bound to the high-affinity antagonist follistatin. Two(More)
Notch signaling directs cell fate during embryogenesis by influencing cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Notch genes are expressed in the adult mouse ovary, and roles for Notch in regulating folliculogenesis are beginning to emerge from mouse genetic models. We investigated how Notch signaling might influence the formation of primordial(More)
The role of FSH in gonadal tumorigenesis and, in particular, in human ovarian cancer has been debated. It is also unclear what role the elevated FSH levels in the inhibin-deficient mouse play in the gonadal tumorigenesis. To directly assess the role of FSH in gonadal growth, differentiation, and gonadal tumorigenesis, we have generated both gain-of-function(More)
The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a prominent role in ovarian function by participating in processes such as cell migration, proliferation, growth, and development. Although some of these signaling processes have been characterized in the mouse, the relative quantity and distribution of ECM proteins within developing follicles of the ovary have not been(More)
The mechanical properties and density of natural and synthetic extracellular matrices are known to affect cellular processes and regulate tissue formation. In this report, these factors were independently investigated for their role in ovarian follicle development. The matrix composition was controlled through decreasing the solids concentration or the(More)