Over the decades, the existence of hotly debated so-called egg stem cells caused discussions in the scientific circles. As researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said in their publication in Nature Communications, egg stem cells do not exist at all. Instead, the research suggests that these are so-called perivascular cells.
The Swedish researchers have examined more than 24,000 types of cells in the human ovary and found that such kind of cells do not exist. In fact, human ovary controls sex hormone production and undergoes monthly structural changes to release mature oocytes. The outer lining of the ovary (cortex) has a crucial role in defining fertility in women as it harbors the ovarian reserve.
Reportedly, that putative oogonial stem cells exist in the ovarian cortex and that these can be captured by DDX4 antibody isolation. However, a recent study sought to determine the egg stem cells.
“The question of whether egg stem cells exist affects issues related to fertility treatment since stem cells have properties that differ from other cells,” Fredrik Lanner, a researcher in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology at Karolinska Institutet, said.
His colleague Pauliina Damdimopoulou added that involuntary childlessness and female fertility are huge fields of research. “This has been a controversial issue involving the testing of experimental fertility treatments,” she said.
To summarize, scientists also represented a complete cell map of the human ovary. The map contributes to the development of improved methods of treating female infertility.
Damdimopoulou stressed that the lack of knowledge about what a normal ovary looks like has held back developments. The Swedish study now lays the ground on which to produce new approaches that focus on the egg cells that already exist in the ovary. This could involve letting egg cells mature in test tubes or perhaps developing artificial ovaries in a lab.
The results of the new study show that the main cell types in the ovary are egg cells, granulosa cells, immune cells, endothelial cells, perivascular cells, and stromal cells.