Ovarian cryopreservation by vitrification is a highly useful method for preserving female fertility during radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However, cryoinjury, osmotic stress during vitrification, and ischemia/reperfusion during transplantation lead to loss of ovarian follicles. Ovarian follicle loss may be partially reduced by several methods; however, studies regarding the mechanism of ovarian follicle loss have only investigated cell apoptosis, which consists of type I programmed cell death. Autophagy is type II programmed cell death, and cell homeostasis is maintained by autophagy during conditions of stress. The role of autophagy during cryopreservation by vitrification has rarely been reported. The potential role of autophagy during ovarian cryopreservation by vitrification is reviewed in this article.
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Vol. 94 • No. 6