Three-dimensional systems for in vitro follicular culture: Overview of alginate-based matrices

Ivina R. Brito*, Isadora M.T. Lima, Min Xu, Lonnie D. Shea, Teresa K. Woodruff, José R. Figueiredo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The in vitro culture of ovarian follicles has provided critical insight into the biology of the follicle and its enclosed oocyte and the physical interaction and communication between the theca and granulosa cells and the oocyte that is necessary to produce meiotically competent oocytes. Various two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) culture systems have been developed to evaluate the effect of growth factors, hormones, extracellular matrix components and culture conditions on follicle development and oocyte growth and maturation. Among these culture systems, 3D systems make it possible to maintain follicle structure and support communication between the various cell compartments within the follicle. In this review article, we will discuss the three main approaches to ovarian follicle culture: 2D attachment systems, 3D floating systems and 3D encapsulated systems. We will specifically emphasise the development of and advances in alginate-based encapsulated systems for in vitro follicle culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-930
Number of pages16
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2014


  • cell culture
  • cytoskeleton
  • folliculogenesis
  • growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Developmental Biology


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