In vitro generation of oocytes from ovarian stem cells (OSCs): In search of major evidence

Erica Silvestris, Stella D’oronzo, Paola Cafforio, Anila Kardhashi, Miriam Dellino, Gennaro Cormio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The existence of ovarian stem cells (OSCs) in women as well as their physiological role in post-menopausal age are disputed. However, accumulating evidence demonstrated that, besides the animal models including primarily mice, even in adult women putative OSCs obtained from ovarian cortex are capable to differentiate in vitro into oocyte-like cells (OLCs) expressing molecular markers typical of terminal stage of oogonial cell lineage. Recent studies describe that, similarly to mature oocytes, the OSC-derived OLCs also contain haploid karyotype. As proof of concept of their stem commitment, OSCs from mice differentiated to oocytes in vitro are suitable to be fertilized and implanted in sterilized animals resulting in embryo development. Despite enthusiasm for these data, which definitely require extended confirmation before considering potential application in humans for treatment of ovarian insufficiency, OSCs appear suitable for other clinical uses, restoring the endocrine derangements in premature ovarian failure or for fertility preservation in oncologic patients after anti-cancer treatments. In this context, the selection of viable oocytes generated from OSCs before chemotherapy protocols would overcome the potential adjunct oncogenic risk in women bearing hormone-dependent tumors who are repeatedly stimulated with high dose estrogens to induce oocyte maturation for their egg recruitment and cryopreservation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE6225
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2 2019


  • Anti-cancer treatments
  • Ddx4
  • Fertility preservation
  • Ovarian failure
  • Ovarian stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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