Objective: This study aimed to examine the effect of vitrification on apoptosis and survival in human preantral follicles after thawing. Methods: This experimental study was conducted at an acute tertiary care hospital from March 2012 to April 2013. Ovaries were sliced into 5×5×1-mm pieces and divided into the following three groups: preantral follicle isolation, ovarian tissue vitrification-warming followed by follicle isolation, and immunohistochemistry of fresh ovarian tissue. For statistical analyses, the Student t-test, chi-square test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis were used. Results: A total of 161 preantral follicles (70% secondary) were collected from ovarian cortex tissue of six women between 30 and 37 years of age who underwent oophorectomy due to cervical cancer or breast cancer. There were no significant differences in the follicular morphology of fresh preantral follicles and vitrified follicles after thawing. The mean Fas ligand (FasL) mRNA expression level was 0.43±0.20 (relative to β-actin) in fresh preantral follicles versus 0.51±0.20 in vitrified follicles (p=0.22). The mean caspase-3 mRNA expression level in fresh preantral follicles was 0.56±0.49 vs. 0.27±0.21 in vitrified follicles (p=0.233). One vitrified-thawed secondary follicle grew and developed to an antral follicle within 6 days of culture. Conclusion: Vitrification did not affect preantral follicle morphology or mRNA expression of the apoptosis markers FasL and caspase-3. Further studies are required to establish whether vitrification affects the outcomes of in vitro culture and the maturation of preantral follicles.
- Fas ligand
- Human preantral follicles