Development of macaque secondary follicles exposed to neutral red prior to 3-dimensional culture

Daiane L. Bulgarelli, Alison Y. Ting, Brenda J. Gordon, Ana Carolina Japur de Sá Rosa-e-Silva, Mary B. Zelinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Neutral red (NR) may assist identification of preantral follicles in pieces of cortical tissue prior to cryopreservation in cancer patients requesting fertility preservation. This study is the first to analyze this effect by follicle growth rate after long-term culture in primates. Methods: Ovarian cortex was obtained from adult rhesus macaques, was cut into fragments, and was incubated with NR. Secondary follicles were readily visualized following NR staining and then were encapsulated into alginate beads and cultured individually for 4 weeks in αMEM media supplemented with 10 ng/ml FSH at 5% O2. Results: The survival rates of secondary follicles during culture were similar between those derived from control tissue (71 ± 13%) and those treated with NR (68 ± 9%). The proportion of surviving follicles that formed an antrum were also similar in both groups (70 ± 17% control; 48 ± 24% NR-treated). Follicle diameters were not different between control follicles (184 ± 5μm) and those stained with NR (181 ± 7 μm) on the day of isolation. The percentages of surviving follicles within three cohorts based on their diameters at week 4 of culture were similar between the control group and NR-stained tissue group, fast-grow follicles (24 ± 6% vs. 13 ± 10%), slow-grow follicles (66 ± 5% vs. 60 ± 9%), or no-grow (10 ± 9% vs. 27 ± 6%), respectively. There were no differences in follicle diameters between groups during the culture period. Pre-exposure of secondary follicles to NR diminished their capacity to produce both estradiol and androstenedione by week 4 of culture, when follicles are exhibiting an antrum. Inhibitory effects of NR on steroid production by slow-grow follicles was less pronounced. Conclusions: NR does not affect secondary follicle survival, growth, and antrum formation during long-term culture, but steroid hormone production by fast-grow follicles is compromised. NR can be used as a non-invasive tool for in situ identification of viable secondary follicles in ovarian cortex before tissue cryopreservation without affecting follicle survival and growth in vitro. Whether maturation or developmental competence of oocytes derived from antral follicles in 3D culture that were previously isolated from NR-stained tissue is normal or compromised remains to be determined. Likewise, the functional consequences of pre-exposure to NR prior to ovarian cortical tissue cryopreservation and transplantation are unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • 3D culture
  • Neutral red
  • Ovarian cortex
  • Primate
  • Secondary follicles
  • Vital staining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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