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Secretion of oestrogen from murine-induced pluripotent stem cells co-cultured with ovarian granulosa cells in vitro

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To whom correspondence should be addressed (email xucongjian@gmail.com).

Abstract

POF (premature ovarian failure) is a distressing condition that is a common cause of infertility. No effective treatment is available to overcome the loss of fertility. A method to derive oestrogen from miPSCs (mouse-induced pluripotent stem cells) was explored as a potential treatment for POF. In this study, C57BL/6 female mice were injected with PMSG (pregnant mare's serum gonadotropin) to obtain ovarian GCs (granulosa cells) and then co-cultured with miPSCs. The morphological changes in the miPSCs co-cultured with GCs were observed by light microscopy. The expression of FSHR (follicle-stimulating hormone receptor) was detected by immunocytochemistry and flow cytometry. Radioimmunoassay was used to analyse the level of E2 (oestradiol) in culture supernatants. The results showed that the proportion of GCs expressing FSHR in GCs was over 90%. The E2 concentration of the culture supernatant of the GC group was 62.4 pg/ml on day 1 and decreased in a time-dependent manner. The opposite situation was observed in the miPSCs-GC co-cultured group with an E2 concentration of 87.9 pg/ml on day 1 that increased in a time-dependent manner to reach a concentration of 328.4 pg/ml on day 7. The data indicate that GC-like cells were effectively induced from miPSCs through indirect cell-to-cell contact. Our method provides a novel in vitro system to study miPSC differentiation, particularly the interactions between miPSCs and GCs. The ultimate goal of this approach would be to provide a treatment for POF in the future.

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