Differentiation of ovarian stromal cells to steroidogenic theca interna cells

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Animal derived cells / tissues / organs


Method keywords
  • theca cells
  • differentiation
  • isolation
  • Ovarian cells
Scientific area keywords
  • fertility restoration
  • artificial ovary
  • Reproduction
  • Human ovarian tissue
Method description

We aim to differentiate ovarian cells isolated from postmenopausal ovaries into steroidogenic theca interna cells. For this purpose, cryopreserved ovarian cortex fragments are used to isolate ovarian cells. These cells are cultured on collagen and supplemented with growth factors defined to promote differentiation into theca interna cells. After 8 days of culture, theca interna cells are obtained, characterized by steroidogenic enzymes such as CYP17A1, and by the production of steroidogenic hormones.

Lab equipment
  • - Tissue chopper;
  • - Biosafety cabinet;
  • - Incubator;
  • - Centrifuge;
  • - Water bath with shaker
Method status
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential


In vitro differentiation and culture of theca interna cells.


Theca cells are obtained after 8 days of culture, however, they lose their characteristics when kept in culture for a longer time period.


Yes, the pool of cell types within ovarian cells can be reduced to only those that undergo differentiation.

References, associated documents and other information


P Asiabi, M M Dolmans, J Ambroise, A Camboni, C A Amorim, In vitro differentiation of theca cells from ovarian cells isolated from postmenopausal women, Human Reproduction, Volume 35, Issue 12, December 2020, Pages 2793–2807, https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deaa246

Associated documents
Asiabi et al (2020).pdf

Contact person

Hanne Vlieghe


Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)