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Biol Reprod. 1985 Oct;33(3):729-38.

An autoradiographic study of rabbit ovarian surface epithelium before and after ovulation.


Morphologic studies suggest that the proliferative activity of the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) may vary during the reproductive life cycle. To further investigate this phenomenon, rabbit ovaries obtained before and after induction of ovulation with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) were incubated in medium containing 3H-methylthymidine and processed for autoradiography. Before ovulation, the labeling index (LI) of OSE cells varied from 0.04% to 0.22%. Twelve hours after hCG, the maximal LI (9.02 +/- 0.38%) was seen in OSE cells adjacent to the ovulatory stigma. The LI remained elevated at Days 1 and 5 post-hCG in OSE cells overlying corpora lutea. At Day 12, numerous papillary processes were observed at the apex of each corpus luteum. The maximal LI (16.44 +/- 1.31%) had now shifted to the OSE cells covering these processes. Eighteen days after hCG stimulation, the LI of OSE cells near the corpora lutea had returned to preovulatory levels. A slight increase in the LI of OSE cells not associated with ovulatory sites was also observed after ovulation. This study shows that a significant fraction of OSE cells undergoes DNA synthesis throughout most of the postovulatory period.

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