Autoimmune ovarian disease is a known cause of human premature ovarian failure. An experimental murine model can be created by immunization with a peptide of ZP3, an ovary-specific glycoprotein. Mice injected with the ZP3 peptide develop histological evidence of ovarian inflammation (oophoritis), as well as antibody to the zona pellucida and T cell responses to the peptide. This unit describes the immunologic properties of the ZP3 peptides, the method of active autoimmune oophoritis induction, and the evaluation and semiquantitation of ovarian pathology. Surgical manipulations of the ovaries have been instrumental in the novel application of this autoimmune model; thus the most useful operations are also detailed. Surgical procedures are included for adult oophrectomy, neonatal ovariectomy, and implantation of ovarian grafts into mice without endogenous ovaries.
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