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Joslin study refutes recent report that bone marrow can replenish female oocytes

Ovulated egg cells, or oocytes, in adult female mice are not formed from germ cells in the blood or bone marrow. That's the conclusion of a new study led by investigators at Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard University. These findings refute a controversial recent study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), which itself contradicted the long-held belief that female mammals are born with a finite number of oocytes that cannot be replenished or regenerated if lost to injury or disease by suggesting that transplanted bone marrow or peripheral blood cells were capable of generating new oocytes in the ovaries of recipient mice.

The Joslin study will appear in an upcoming issue of Nature and on the journal's Web site on June 14, 2006.

"It was a very important study to do," says Amy J. Wagers, Ph.D., Investigator in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology at Joslin Diabetes Center and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. "The suggestion that bone marrow cells might represent a previously unappreciated source of cells capable of restoring female fertility had significant implications for patients undergoing chemotherapy, which often leads to sterility, and for individuals donating or receiving bone marrow cells for transplant, as well as for women experiencing premature menopause."

The MGH study reported that transplanted cells from the bone marrow or blood could enter the ovaries of genetically infertile or chemically sterilized female mice and produce new oocytes but didn't study whether those oocytes could be ovulated, or whether bone marrow cells normally migrate to the ovary as part of a normal process of ovary regeneration. The Joslin study's goal was to find out if that was possible.

Joslin study researchers used a parabiotic mouse model in which pairs of mice are joined using a surgical procedure that enables blood vessels to fuse such that the mice develop a common circulatory system. "It's a very u
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Contact: Jenny Eriksen
jenny.eriksen@joslin.harvard.edu
617-732-2415
Joslin Diabetes Center
14-Jun-2006


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