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Theriogenology. 2004 Jun;61(9):1691-704.

Influences of FSH and EGF on primordial follicles during in vitro culture of caprine ovarian cortical tissue.

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, PPGCV, State University of Ceara, Fortaleza, CE, Brazil.


Factors that control the onset of folliculogenesis are critical to female gamete production, but poorly understood. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of FSH and EGF on the activation and growth of goat primordial follicles in vitro. To this end, pieces of goat ovarian cortex were cultured in vitro for 1, 3 or 5 days, at 39 degrees C in an atmosphere containing 5% CO(2), in minimum essential medium supplemented with insulin, transferrin, selenium, pyruvate, glutamine, hypoxanthine, BSA, penicillin, streptomycin and fungizone and with or without FSH (100 ng/ml) and/or EGF (100 ng/ml). At the end of the culture periods, the relative proportions of primordial, intermediate, primary and secondary follicles were calculated and compared with those in non-cultured tissue. In addition, mitotic activity of granulosa cells was studied by immunohistochemistry for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). In brief, it was found that goat primordial follicles activate spontaneously during culture in vitro and, while neither FSH nor EGF affected the proportion of primordial follicles that entered the growth phase, both stimulated an increase in oocyte and follicle diameter, especially in intermediate and primary follicles cultured for 5 days. On the other hand, there was no significant effect of culture or either growth factor on the proportion of PCNA-stained growing follicles. Contrary to expectations, neither FSH nor EGF affected follicle viability or integrity during culture, since the percentages of intact follicles did not differ between control, FSH and/or EGF containing medium. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that goat primordial follicles activate spontaneously in vitro, and that both FSH and EGF stimulate an increase in follicle size by promoting oocyte growth.

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