Scientists have been able to get sterilized mice reproduce and breastfeed their pups after implanting the rodents with 3D-printed microporous hydrogel scaffolds.
This discovery could potentially boost the ability of assisted reproductive technologies to help people with malfunctioning ovaries. The groundbreaking study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
A team of researchers led by Northwestern University‘s Monica M. Laronda and Alexandra L. Rutz sought to assess how pore geometry is affected by ovarian follicles. Microporous scaffolds with a pore geometry of 30° and 60° were found to have a better ability to support ovarian follicles compared to those with 90°. Further tests confirmed that “30° and 60° scaffold architectures support hormone production, oocyte maturation, and ovulation,” the scientists stated.
The 3D-printed scaffolds were tested by implanting them in ovariectomized mice, which were able to mate and produce pups. Upon reaching adulthood, these pups were also able to reproduce naturally.