The main goal of this study was to compare developmental competence and oxidative status of vitrified-warmed pre-antral follicles (VPF) with pre-antral follicles derived from vitrified-warmed ovarian tissue (VOF) in the presence of alpha lipoic acid (ALA).
Ovarian tissue and isolated pre-antral follicles were exposed to equilibration solution and then vitrification solution. After thawing of LN2 snap-frozen samples, pre-antral follicles were cultured with or without ALA for 12 days that followed by hCG-induced ovulation. MII oocytes were in vitro fertilized and embryo cleavage assessed. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) levels of cultured pre-antral follicles were measured.
The rates of survival, antral-like cavity formation, MII oocytes, fertilization, 2-cell embryo and blastocyst development were higher in VPF compared to VOF. These rates were higher in ALA-supplemented groups in comparison to their respective groups. An increase and a decrease in ROS production and TAC levels were observed up to the 96 h during cultivation period, respectively. ROS level was lower in cultured VPF compared to VOF. In ALA-treated groups, ROS level decreased to reach comparable values of starting point and TAC levels increased after 24 h of culture and then remained constant.
Developmental outcomes showed vitrification of pre-antral follicles is more appropriate method than that of whole ovarian tissue. Moreover, it seems that inclusion of ALA improved in vitro development of pre-antral follicles in both vitrified and non-vitrified samples.