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Mol Hum Reprod. 2011 Mar;17(3):152-65. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gaq089. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Dynamics of the transcriptome in the primate ovulatory follicle.

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  • 1Division of Reproductive Sciences, Oregon National Primate Research Center, OHSU West Campus, 505 NW 185th Ave, Beaverton, OR 97006, USA.


Experiments were designed to evaluate changes in the transcriptome (mRNA levels) in the ovulatory, luteinizing follicle of rhesus monkeys, using a controlled ovulation model that permits analysis of the naturally selected, dominant follicle at specific intervals (0, 12, 24 and 36 h) after exposure to an ovulatory (exogenous hCG) stimulus during the menstrual cycle. Total RNA was prepared from individual follicles (n= 4-8/timepoint), with an aliquot used for microarray analysis (Affymetrix Rhesus Macaque Genome Array) and the remainder applied to quantitative real-time PCR (q-PCR) assays. The microarray data from individual samples distinctly clustered according to timepoints, and ovulated follicles displayed markedly different expression patterns from unruptured follicles at 36 h. Between timepoint comparisons revealed profound changes in mRNA expression profiles. The dynamic pattern of mRNA expression for steroidogenic enzymes (CYP17A, CYP19A, HSD3B2, HSD11B1 and HSD11B2), steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) and gonadotrophin receptors [LH/choriogonadotrophin receptor (LHCGR), FSH receptor (FSHR)] as determined by microarray analysis correlated precisely with those from blinded q-PCR assays. Patterns of mRNA expression for epidermal-growth-factor-like factors (amphiregulin, epiregulin) and processes [hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2), tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced protein 6 (TNFAIP6)] implicated in cumulus-oocyte maturation/expansion were also comparable between assays. Thus, several mRNAs displayed the expected expression pattern for purported theca (e.g. CYP17A), granulosa (CYP19A, FSHR), cumulus (HAS2, TNFAIP6) cell and surface epithelium (HSD11B)-related genes in the rodent/primate pre-ovulatory follicle. This database will be of great value in analyzing molecular and cellular pathways associated with periovulatory events in the primate follicle (e.g. follicle rupture, luteinization, inflammatory response and angiogenesis), and for identifying novel gene products controlling mammalian fertility.

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