Therapeutic effects of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell-derived microvesicles on premature ovarian insufficiency in mice

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2019 Aug 14;10(1):250. doi: 10.1186/s13287-019-1327-5.


Background: Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) is one of the leading causes of female infertility, which is caused by an abnormal ovarian reserve. Currently, there is no effective treatment to restore the fertility of POI patients. Recent studies suggested that microvesicles (MVs) released from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exert therapeutic effects in various degenerative diseases. In this study, the effect of human umbilical cord MSC-derived MVs (HUCMSC-MVs) on the restoration of ovarian function in a chemotherapy-induced POI mouse model is investigated.

Methods: MVs were obtained from the supernatant of cultured HUCMSCs. The localization of PKH26-labeled HUCMSC-MVs in ovarian tissues was observed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Histomorphometric analysis was performed to count the number of ovarian follicles and vessels. The ovarian sections were stained with anti-CD34 to evaluate angiogenesis. The levels of estradiol (E2) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay. The mRNA expression of angiogenesis-related cytokines and the protein expression of AKT in mouse ovaries were measured by quantitative RT-PCR and western blot analysis. The parametric variables were compared by Student's t test and analysis of variance. The non-parametric variables were compared by the Mann-Whitney U test. Categorical variables were compared by χ2 test. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: PKH26-labeled HUCMSC-MVs were detectable within the ovaries and migrated to the ovarian follicles 24 h after transplantation. The transplantation of HUCMSC-MVs could increase the body weight and number of ovarian follicles (primordial, developing, and preovulatory follicles), induce ovarian angiogenesis, and recover the disturbed estrous cycle of POI mice. The expression levels of total AKT, p-AKT, and angiogenic cytokines (including VEGF, IGF, and angiogenin) in the ovaries of POI mice were markedly upregulated after HUCMSC-MVs transplantation, suggesting that HUCMSC-MVs transplantation might recover ovarian function by inducing angiogenesis via the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

Conclusions: This study provides valuable insight into the effects of HUCMSC-MVs on ovarian tissue angiogenesis and on the restoration of ovarian function in POI mice, which may be helpful to develop a treatment strategy for POI patients.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); Microvesicles (MVs); PI3K/AKT; Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / chemistry*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / metabolism
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / pathology
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Umbilical Cord / cytology*


  • Estrogens