Follicle encapsulation in microcapillary gel plug. A, Glass micopcapillary tube used for embedding. Preantral follicle was mixed with HA (3 mg/ml) and drawn into a glass microcapillary tube. Cross-linking of HA was initiated and after 3–4 minutes the HA gel plug with follicle was expelled from the glass tube. Follicle growth was monitored; B, Preantral follicle on Day 3 of culture; C, Follicle with increasing diameter on Day 6 of culture. Edge of gel plug is indicated by arrow; D, Follicle on Day 10 of culture. Three dimensional architecture was preserved, and antral cavity formation was just visible. Follicle proximal to edge of gel plug (arrow) E, Pattern of follicle growth and oocyte maturation in conventional 2-D culture (CT) versus in the 3-D HA culture model. Antral cavity formation and GVBD was significantly higher in the HA gel (n = 33) as compared to CT (n = 71). Significant differences between groups are indicated by letters. a, P = 0.03; b, P = 0.007.