Maturation of human ovarian follicles is accompanied by a decrease in the CD56+CD16+ natural killer cell population

Ofer Fainaru, Shay Hantisteanu, Nechami Rotfarb, Medeia Michaeli, Mordechai Hallak, Adrian Ellenbogen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate whether "proangiogenic" CD56 +CD16- natural killer (NK) cells, which accumulate in follicular fluid (FF) of patients with a good response to ovarian stimulation, are also present in earlier stages of follicular development. Design: Observational study. Setting: Academic in vitro fertilization (IVF) unit. Patient(s): Patients of similar age and ovarian reserve, undergoing in vitro maturation (IVM; n = 10) or IVF (n = 22) cycles. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): FF was collected from the first follicle aspirated in each ovary, and flow cytometry was used to define CD56+CD16- "proangiogenic" or CD56+CD16+ "cytotoxic" NK cells. Result(s): FF derived from antral follicles of patients undergoing IVM (maximum diameter 10 mm) showed a slightly higher abundance of "proangiogenic" NK cells compared with FF from preovulatory mature follicles (>18 mm) of patients undergoing IVF (5.4 ± 1.3% vs. 3.0 ± 1.1% of CD45+CD3- cells). Importantly, antral FF contained a significantly higher concentration of "cytotoxic" NK cells (11.4 ± 2.3% vs. 3.7 ± 0.9% of CD45+CD3- cells) compared with FF from mature follicles. Conclusion(s): "Proangiogenic" NK cells accumulate in ovarian follicles from as early as the antral follicular stage. Maturation of follicles is accompanied by a decrease in the population of "cytotoxic" NK cells that may have deleterious effects on follicular maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2395-2398
Number of pages4
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Follicular fluid
  • angiogenesis
  • in vitro fertilization
  • in vitro maturation
  • natural killer cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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