Nagashima, Jennifer B., El Assal, R., Songsasen, Nucharin, and Demirci, U. 2018. "Evaluation of an ovary-on-a-chip in large mammalian models: Species specificity and influence of follicle isolation status." Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine 12 (4):e1926-e1935. https://doi.org/10.1002/term.2623
The ability to grow oocytes from immature ovarian follicles in vitro has significant potential for fertility preservation; yet, it has proved challenging in large mammalian species due to the complex metabolic needs and long-term culture requirements. Currently, follicular incubations are based on a 'static' system with manual exchange of medium. Despite the numerous advantages of conventional culturing approaches, recapitulating the native microenvironment and supporting the survival of ovarian follicles still represent challenges. In this study, we utilized an innovative microfluidic dynamic system to support the in vitro survival of domestic cat and dog follicles enclosed within the ovarian cortex or isolated from ovarian cortex. Results indicate both species and tissue type-specific differences in response to microfluidic culture. Domestic cat but not dog ovarian cortical tissue maintained viability under flow similar to conventional agarose gel controls. Preantral stage isolated follicles from both species grew most favorably in conventional alginate bead culture, but overall there was no influence of culture system on expression of follicle development or oocyte health markers. This system represents an important exploration toward the development of an improved ovarian in vitro culture system of large mammalian species (e.g., cats and dogs), which has potential applications for fertility preservation, reproductive toxicology, and endangered mammal conservation efforts.