The use of somatic cells for cocultures during in vitro fertilization (IVF) is currently finalized to obtain a higher number of healthy and viable embryos with a high potential of implantation. Among the different cell lines that can be used as feeder cells for cocultures, granulosa cells (GCs) are autologous cells, safe and easy to recover. The aim of the present study was to analyze the fine structure of human GCs used in a coculture system to evaluate, from a morphodynamic point of view, their role in supporting embryo development. GCs were collected during oocyte pick-up, 36 h after human chorionic gonadotropin administration, from patients undergoing IVF procedures, who had given their informed consent to be included in this protocol. After coculture, GCs were fixed and processed for light microscopy (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). By LM, GCs appeared as clusters of loosely packed cells, irregularly rounded or polyhedral in shape, varying in diameter from 18 to 25 microm. Mitotic cells, as well as regressing elements (with pyknotic nuclei or dense cytoplasm) and cell fragments were occasionally observed. By TEM, the plasma membrane was irregular due to the presence of cytoplasmic evaginations. Linear and annular gap junctions between neighboring GCs were found. GC nuclei, rounded and eccentrically located, contained finely dispersed chromatin, one (often two) prominent nucleoli and, infrequently, peripheral patches of heterochromatin. Numerous organelles populated the GC cytoplasm, among them, mitochondria were rod-shaped or elongated, usually provided with tubular-vesicular cristae but occasionally showing atypical, longitudinally oriented cristae. Membranes of smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi stacks and vesicles, secretory-like granules, cisternae of rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), free ribosomes and polysomes, lysosomal-like bodies, microfilaments, and lipid droplets were also seen in the GC cytoplasm. In most cells, RER was scarcely represented and numerous lipid droplets filled the perinuclear space. On the contrary, some GCs contained an abundant RER and rare lipid droplets scattered in the cytoplasm. In conclusion, our data demonstrated the presence, in a coculture system, of GCs provided with ultrastructural characteristics typical of healthy, metabolically active, mostly steroidogenic cells. Protein-synthetic cells have also been detected. These data, evaluated at the light of biochemical and clinical studies, sustain the capability of human GCs cocultures to positively affect early embryo development in vitro by the secretion of steroids and proteins, putative "embryotrophic" factors

Ultrastructural characteristics of human granulosa cells in a coculture system for in vitro fertilization

MACCHIARELLI, GUIDO
2006

Abstract

The use of somatic cells for cocultures during in vitro fertilization (IVF) is currently finalized to obtain a higher number of healthy and viable embryos with a high potential of implantation. Among the different cell lines that can be used as feeder cells for cocultures, granulosa cells (GCs) are autologous cells, safe and easy to recover. The aim of the present study was to analyze the fine structure of human GCs used in a coculture system to evaluate, from a morphodynamic point of view, their role in supporting embryo development. GCs were collected during oocyte pick-up, 36 h after human chorionic gonadotropin administration, from patients undergoing IVF procedures, who had given their informed consent to be included in this protocol. After coculture, GCs were fixed and processed for light microscopy (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). By LM, GCs appeared as clusters of loosely packed cells, irregularly rounded or polyhedral in shape, varying in diameter from 18 to 25 microm. Mitotic cells, as well as regressing elements (with pyknotic nuclei or dense cytoplasm) and cell fragments were occasionally observed. By TEM, the plasma membrane was irregular due to the presence of cytoplasmic evaginations. Linear and annular gap junctions between neighboring GCs were found. GC nuclei, rounded and eccentrically located, contained finely dispersed chromatin, one (often two) prominent nucleoli and, infrequently, peripheral patches of heterochromatin. Numerous organelles populated the GC cytoplasm, among them, mitochondria were rod-shaped or elongated, usually provided with tubular-vesicular cristae but occasionally showing atypical, longitudinally oriented cristae. Membranes of smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi stacks and vesicles, secretory-like granules, cisternae of rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), free ribosomes and polysomes, lysosomal-like bodies, microfilaments, and lipid droplets were also seen in the GC cytoplasm. In most cells, RER was scarcely represented and numerous lipid droplets filled the perinuclear space. On the contrary, some GCs contained an abundant RER and rare lipid droplets scattered in the cytoplasm. In conclusion, our data demonstrated the presence, in a coculture system, of GCs provided with ultrastructural characteristics typical of healthy, metabolically active, mostly steroidogenic cells. Protein-synthetic cells have also been detected. These data, evaluated at the light of biochemical and clinical studies, sustain the capability of human GCs cocultures to positively affect early embryo development in vitro by the secretion of steroids and proteins, putative "embryotrophic" factors
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/7700
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