The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 931 - 937 (2012)

Vol 56, Issue 10-11-12

Special Issue: Female Germ Cells in Development & Tumors

Towards a 3D culture of mouse ovarian follicles

Published: 6 February 2013

Martina Belli1, Giulia Vigone1, Valeria Merico1, Carlo Alberto Redi1, Maurizio Zuccotti*,2 and Silvia Garagna*,1,3,4

1Laboratorio di Biologia dello Sviluppo, Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie 'Lazzaro Spallanzani', Università degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia, 2Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Biotecnologiche e Traslazionali, Università degli Studi di Parma, 3Centro di Ingegneria Tissutale, Universita’ degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia and 4Centro di Eccellenza in Biologia Applicata, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia, Italy


The ovarian follicle has a three-dimensional (3D) structure in which the oocyte is surrounded by tightly connected follicle cells that mediate the action of external signals and nourish the gamete during its maturation. Thus, the maintenance of follicle organization during the whole growth process is crucial for the correct acquisition of developmental competence. In recent years, much attention has been given to in vitro culture systems capable of maintaining follicle architecture. With the aim of providing a quick reference guide, in this review we will summarize the techniques developed for the 3D culture of mouse follicles.


3D culture, ovarian follicle, follicle organization, follicle architecture, matrix

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