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Palma, Gustavo A.; Arganaraz, Martin E.; Barrera, Antonio D.; Rodler, Daniela; Mutto, Adrian A.; Sinowatz, Fred (2012): Biology and Biotechnology of Follicle Development. In: Scientific World Journal: ID 938138


Growth and development of ovarian follicles require a series of coordinated events that induce morphological and functional changes within the follicle, leading to cell differentiation and oocyte development. The preantral early antral follicle transition is the stage of follicular development during which gonadotropin dependence is obtained and the progression into growing or atresia of the follicle is made. Follicular growth during this period is tightly regulated by oocyte-granulosatheca cell interactions. A cluster of early expressed genes is required for normal folliculogenesis. Granulosa cell factors stimulate the recruitment of theca cells from cortical stromal cells. Thecal factors promote granulosa cell proliferation and suppress granulosa cell apoptosis. Cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions influence the production of growth factors in the different follicular compartments (oocyte, granulosa, and theca cells). Several autocrine and paracrine factors are involved in follicular growth and differentiation; their activity is present even at the time of ovulation, decreasing the gap junction communication, and stimulating the theca cell proliferation. In addition, the identification of the factors that promote follicular growth from the preantral stage to the small antral stage may provide important information for the identification for assisted reproduction techniques.