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Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2003 Feb 5;1:9.

The spatiotemporal expression pattern of the bone morphogenetic protein family in rat ovary cell types during the estrous cycle.

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University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0674, USA.


In the mammalian ovary, great interest in the expression and function of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family has been recently generated from evidence of their critical role in determining folliculogenesis and female fertility. Despite extensive work, there is a need to understand the cellular sites of expression of these important regulatory molecules, and how their gene expression changes within the basic ovary cell types through the cycle. Here we have performed a detailed in situ hybridization analysis of the spatial and temporal expression patterns of the BMP ligands (BMP-2, -3, -3b, -4, -6, -7, -15), receptors (BMPR-IA, -IB, -II), and BMP antagonist, follistatin, in rat ovaries over the normal estrous cycle. We have found that: i) all of the mRNAs are expressed in a cell-specific manner in the major classes of ovary cell types (oocyte, granulosa, theca interstitial, theca externa, corpora lutea, secondary interstitial, vascular and ovary surface epithelium); and ii) most undergo dynamic changes during follicular and corpora luteal morphogenesis and histogenesis. The general principle to emerge from these studies is that the developmental programs of folliculogenesis (recruitment, selection, atresia), ovulation, and luteogenesis (luteinization, luteolysis) are accompanied by rather dramatic spatial and temporal changes in the expression patterns of these BMP genes. These results lead us to hypothesize previously unanticipated roles for the BMP family in determining fundamental developmental events that ensure the proper timing and developmental events required for the generation of the estrous cycle.

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