Document Type


Publication Date



School of Medicine


Obstetrics and Gynecology


Background: Improved cancer therapeutics and enhanced cancer survivorship have emphasized the severe long-term side effects of chemotherapy. Specifically, studies have linked many chemotherapy agents with primary ovarian insufficiency, although an exact insult model has not yet been determined. To investigate and ultimately solve this problem, a novel device for extended study of mammalian ovaries in vitro was developed.

Methods: A bioreactor was fabricated for bovine ovarian culture that provides intravascular delivery of media to the ovary through isolation and cannulation of a main ovarian artery branch. Whole ovaries were cultured in vitro using three methods: (1) continuously supplied fresh culture media, (2) recirculated culture media, or (3) continuously supplied fresh culture media supplemented with 500 nM doxorubicin for 24 or 48 h. TUNEL assay was used to assess apoptotic cell percentages in the three groups as compared to uncultured baseline ovaries.

Results: The ovary culture method was shown to maintain cell viability by effectively delivering nutrient-enriched pH-balanced media at a constant flow rate. Lower apoptosis observed in ovaries cultured in continuously supplied fresh culture media illustrates that this culture device and method are the first to sustain whole bovine ovary viability for 48 h. Meanwhile, the increase in the percentage of cell apoptosis with doxorubicin treatment indicates that the device can provide an alternative model for testing chemotherapy and chemoprotection treatments to prevent primary ovarian insufficiency in cancer patients.

Conclusions: An ovarian bioreactor with consistent culture media flow through an ovarian vasculature-assisted approach maintains short-term whole bovine ovary viability.

Source Citation

Zanotelli, M. R., Henningsen, J. D., Hopkins, P. M., Dederich, A. P., Herman, T., Puccinelli, T. J., & Salih, S. M. (2016). An ovarian bioreactor for in vitro culture of the whole bovine ovary: a preliminary report. Journal of Ovarian Research, 9(1).


© 2016 The Author(s). Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.