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Fertil Steril. 1999 Apr;71(4):732-8.

Keratinocyte growth factor promotes the survival, growth, and differentiation of preantral ovarian follicles.

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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA.



To determine the effect of treatment with keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) on the survival of cells in cultured preantral follicles and on the growth and differentiation of preantral follicles.


Preantral follicles (140-150 microm) were dissected mechanically from the ovaries of 14-day-old rats and cultured for 24 hours with and without KGF. Genomic DNA was extracted, labeled with [32P]-dideoxyadenosine triphosphate, and fractionated through agarose gels. For growth studies, the follicles were cultured individually in 96-well dishes. After 72 hours, the follicles were collected and their protein or DNA content was evaluated and their inhibin-alpha content was determined.


Keratinocyte growth factor suppressed apoptosis in cultured preantral follicles by 60%. Treatment with KGF or FSH increased follicle diameter by 8% and 16%, respectively, and combined treatment with KGF and FSH increased follicle diameter by 26%. Western blot analysis demonstrated increased expression of inhibin-alpha content after treatment with KGF (2-fold), treatment with FSH (4-fold), and combined treatment with FSH and KGF (12-fold), demonstrating the effect of KGF on preantral follicle differentiation.


Treatment with KGF promotes the survival, growth, and differentiation of cultured preantral follicles. Keratinocyte growth factor produced by theca cells may play a role in the progression of early follicle development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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