Recapitulating folliculogenesis and oogenesis outside the body: encapsulated in vitro follicle growth

Aubrey Converse, Emily J. Zaniker, Farners Amargant, Francesca E. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Folliculogenesis is a tightly coordinated process essential for generating a fertilization-competent gamete while also producing gonadal hormones that sustain endocrine function. In vitro follicle growth systems have been critical to our understanding of key events in folliculogenesis, such as gonadotropin-independent and dependent growth, steroid hormone production, and oocyte growth and maturation (cytoplasmic and meiotic). Although there are several successful follicle culture strategies, the following protocol details an encapsulated in vitro follicle growth (eIVFG) system for use with mouse ovarian follicles. Encapsulated IVFG is performed with alginate hydrogels, which are biologically inert, maintains cell-to-cell interactions between granulosa cells and the oocyte, and preserves follicle architecture as found in the ovary. The system supports follicle growth, development, and differentiation from the early primary follicle to the antral follicle stage. Moreover, post-folliculogenesis events including meiotic maturation, ovulation, and luteinization are also supported. Importantly, the culture of secondary follicles has successfully resulted in viable pups after blastocyst transfer. This alginate-based eIVFG system is versatile and has broad applications as a tool for interrogating the fundamental biology of the ovarian follicle in a controlled manner, a screening platform for toxicity and bioactivity, and a potential fertility preservation method for endangered species as well as humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Alginate
  • Folliculogenesis
  • Oogenesis
  • Ovulation


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