For citation purposes: Dan S, Haibo L, Hong L. Pathogenesis and stem cell therapy for premature ovarian failure. OA Stem Cells 2014 Feb 10;2(1):4.


Tissue-Specific Stem Cells

Pathogenesis and stem cell therapy for premature ovarian failure

S Dan, L Haibo, L Hong

Authors affiliations

Center for Reproduction and Genetics, Suzhou Municipal Hospital, Nanjing Medical University Affiliated Suzhou Hospital, Suzhou 215002, Jiangsu, China

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One of the most common significant causes for infertility in women is premature ovarian failure. However, the pathogenesis of premature ovarian failure requires further investigation. Three major causes for premature ovarian failure, including X chromosome-linked genetic defects, are autoimmune disorders and long-term toxicity associated with chemotherapy exposure. Chemotherapy-induced premature ovarian failure is reversible for the infertility of women. Damaged ovarian function can be rescued after stem cell transplantation. Nevertheless, the mechanism behind this still remains unclear. Although these stem cells may potentially differentiate into oocytes or granulosa cells, studies have proved they could not develop into fully functional follicles in vivo. Both the proliferation and apoptosis of granulosa cells are critical in the development of follicles. Greater numbers of studies have revealed stem cells transplanted into the damaged ovary are more inclined to differentiate into granulosa cell-like cells to replenish the lost granulosa cells. Additionally, factors produced by stem cells could inhibit stromal cell apoptosis, thereby playing a part in rescuing damaged ovarian function. This review discusses several kinds of stem cells which have been studied for treating premature ovarian failure, to get comprehensive understanding for the stem cell therapy mechanisms.


Clinical applications of stem cell therapy have become popular for treating premature ovarian failure. Oocyte and granulosa cells regeneration along with the re-establishment of hormone or cytokine profiles supporting stem cell follicular development may be involved in the improvement of both the damaged ovary function and fertility recovery. Increased understanding of this mechanism will promote its wide clinical application.

Licensee OA Publishing London 2014. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)