A novel follicle culture system markedly increases follicle volume, cell number and oestradiol secretion.

Research paper by G G Wycherley, D D Downey, M T MT Kane, A C AC Hynes

Indexed on: 04 Jun '04Published on: 04 Jun '04Published in: Reproduction (Cambridge, England)


This study reports a novel, simple method for culture of mouse follicles which results in follicles with cell numbers similar to in vivo fully grown follicles. Using this method, follicles (180-240 microm in diameter) were cultured in a 100 microl inverted drop of medium without oil and compared with culture in upright drops with and without a mineral oil overlay. Follicles, isolated from C57BL/6 x CBA/ca crossbred and MF1 inbred mice, were cultured individually at 37 degrees C in 96-well round-bottomed suspension cell tissue culture plates for 6 days. Follicles grown in the inverted drop culture system reached a markedly higher final diameter (means+/-s.e.m.; 471 +/- 6.0 microm) as compared with the upright with oil (363 +/- 2.7 microm) and without oil (358 +/- 4.0) systems. There was no significant effect of mouse strain on follicle diameter. Follicular secretion of oestradiol and lactate into the medium was measured on days 2, 4 and 6 of culture. Secretion of oestradiol per follicle on day 6 was 2.49 +/- 0.45 ng in the inverted and 0.90 +/- 0.17 ng in the upright without oil system (P < 0.001). Follicular secretion of lactate on a per unit of follicle volume basis remained constant in the inverted system over days 2, 4 and 6 and was less (P < 0.001) than secretion in both the upright with and without oil systems. Follicle cell proliferation was markedly increased in the inverted as compared with the upright with oil system; the increases in cell numbers were significant on day 3 (P < 0.01) and on all subsequent days (P < 0.001). These results are discussed in relation to the supply of oxygen to the follicle in culture.