Stage-specific modulation of antimüllerian hormone promotes primate follicular development and oocyte maturation in the matrix-free three-dimensional culture
Objective To study whether follicular growth and oocyte maturation can be improved by antimullerian hormone (AMH) modulation at specific stages of follicular development. Design Primary and secondary follicles were cultured in a matrix-free system and were assigned to the control group and the group with AMH supplementation during the preantral stage and neutralizing AMH antibody addition during the antral stage. Setting National primate research center. Animal(s) Adult, female rhesus macaques ( Macaca mulatta ). Intervention(s) None. Main Outcome Measure(s) Follicle survival, growth, steroid and paracrine factor production, and oocyte competence were evaluated. Follicles were assessed for expression of genes that are critical for gonadotropin signaling, cumulus cell glycolysis, and oocyte quality. Result(s) Primary follicles formed "organoids" and developed to the antral stage in group culture. AMH exposure during the preantral stage increased organoid diameters. Oocytes from the AMH-treated organoids had greater diameters and matured to the metaphase II (MII) stage. Secondary follicles developed to the antral stage during individual culture. The AMH exposure during the preantral stage and AMH antibody treatment during the antral stage increased follicle diameters, vascular endothelial growth factor and follistatin production, differentiation factor 9 expression, and oocyte diameters. The MII oocytes from the AMH-modulated group developed to the morula stage after IVF, with one to the blastocyst stage. Conclusion(s) AMH supplementation at the preantral stage and depletion at the antral stage enhanced primate follicular development and oocyte competence in vitro. The improved embryonic development supports in vitro follicle maturation as a potential approach for fertility preservation.