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Reproduction. 2001 Jan;121(1):89-96.

Role of ascorbic acid in promoting follicle integrity and survival in intact mouse ovarian follicles in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, Hugh Robson Building, University of Edinburgh, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9XD, UK.

Abstract

Ascorbic acid has three known functions: it is necessary for collagen synthesis, promotes steroidogenesis and acts as an antioxidant. Within the ovary, most studies have concentrated on the role of ascorbic acid in luteal formation and regression and little is known about the function of this vitamin in follicular growth and development. Follicular growth and development were investigated in this study using an individual follicle culture system that allows the growth of follicles from the late preantral stage to Graafian morphology. Follicles were isolated from prepubertal mice and cultured for 6 days. Control media contained serum and human recombinant FSH. Further groups of follicles were cultured in the same media but with the addition of ascorbic acid at concentrations of either 28 or 280 micromol l(-1). Addition of ascorbic acid at the higher concentration significantly increased the percentage of follicles that maintained basement membrane integrity throughout culture (P < 0.001). Ascorbic acid had no effect on the growth of the follicles or on oestradiol production. Metalloproteinase 2 activity tended to increase at the higher concentration of ascorbic acid and there was a significant concomitant increase in the activity of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (P < 0.01). Follicles cultured without the addition of serum but with FSH and selenium in the culture media underwent apoptosis. Addition of ascorbic acid to follicles cultured under serum-free conditions significantly reduced apoptosis (P < 0.05). From these data it is concluded that ascorbic acid is necessary for remodelling the basement membrane during follicular growth and that the ability of follicles to uptake ascorbic acid confers an advantage in terms of granulosa cell survival.

PMID:
11226031
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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