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Bioscientifica Proceedings (2019) 7 RDRRDR16 | DOI: 10.1530/biosciprocs.7.016

REDR2010 Reproduction in Domestic Ruminants VII Oocyte and Follicular Development in Ruminants (3 abstracts)

The earliest stages of follicular development: Follicle formation and activation

JE Fortune , & MY Yang and W Muruvi

Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA 14853

The formation of primordial follicles to establish a reservoir of resting follicles and the gradual depletion of that reservoir to provide a succession of growing follicles are key to female fertility, but little is known about the regulation of these early stages of follicular development. This review summarizes the efforts of our laboratory to elucidate these critical processes in cattle. Primordial follicles first appear in fetal ovaries around the end of the first trimester of pregnancy (Day 90), during a decline in fetal ovarian production of estradiol and progesterone. In ovarian cortical pieces from 90 to 120-day-old fetuses, follicles form in vitro and estradiol or progesterone inhibits follicle formation, whereas the non-aromatizable androgen 5a-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) does not. Newly formed bovine follicles are not capable of activating within 2 days in vitro, but they can acquire the capacity to activate during a longer culture; estradiol and progesterone inhibit the acquisition of their capacity to activate. When primordial follicles first form in cattle, their oocytes are not yet in meiotic arrest and acquisition of competence to activate is correlated with their progression to meiotic arrest at the diplotene stage of first prophase. After they acquire the competence to activate, bovine primordial follicles can be stimulated to activate in vitro by insulin or kit ligand, whereas anti- Mullerian hormone (AMH) is inhibitory. Although few follicles progress to the secondary stage in vitro, addition of testosterone or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) dramatically increased the incidence of that transition. Regulation of the earliest stages of follicular development is complex and far from understood; better understanding could lead to new interventions to enhance fertility.

© 2010 Society for Reproduction and Fertility

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