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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 861460, 18 pages
Research Article

Expression of Pluripotency and Oocyte-Related Genes in Single Putative Stem Cells from Human Adult Ovarian Surface Epithelium Cultured In Vitro in the Presence of Follicular Fluid

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slajmerjeva 3, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 307, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
3TATAA Biocenter AB, Odinsgatan 28, 41103 Göteborg, Sweden
4Institute of Biotechnology AS CR, Lb Building, 14220 Prague, Czech Republic

Received 30 October 2012; Accepted 24 December 2012

Academic Editor: Deepa Bhartiya

Copyright © 2013 Irma Virant-Klun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this study was to trigger the expression of genes related to oocytes in putative ovarian stem cells scraped from the ovarian surface epithelium of women with premature ovarian failure and cultured in vitro in the presence of follicular fluid, rich in substances for oocyte growth and maturation. Ovarian surface epithelium was scraped and cell cultures were set up by scrapings in five women with nonfunctional ovaries and with no naturally present mature follicles or oocytes. In the presence of donated follicular fluid putative stem cells grew and developed into primitive oocyte-like cells. A detailed single-cell gene expression profiling was performed to elucidate their genetic status in comparison to human embryonic stem cells, oocytes, and somatic fibroblasts. The ovarian cell cultures depleted/converted reproductive hormones from the culture medium. Estradiol alone or together with other substances may be involved in development of these primitive oocyte-like cells. The majority of primitive oocyte-like cells was mononuclear and expressed several genes related to pluripotency and oocytes, including genes related to meiosis, although they did not express some important oocyte-specific genes. Our work reveals the presence of putative stem cells in the ovarian surface epithelium of women with premature ovarian failure.