Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Cell Sci. 2005 Jan 1;118(Pt 1):113-22. Epub 2004 Dec 7.

Interplay between paracrine signaling and gap junctional communication in ovarian follicles.

Author information

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C1, Canada.


Intercellular communication is required for ovarian folliculogenesis. This is apparent in mice lacking connexin43 (Cx43, a gap junction protein strongly expressed in granulosa cells), or growth/differentiation factor-9 (GDF9, an oocyte-specific growth factor that stimulates granulosa cell proliferation and differentiation), or in mice expressing a mutant form of Kit ligand (KITL, a paracrine factor that, in the ovary, is secreted by granulosa cells to stimulate oocyte growth). In all of these mutant lines, follicle growth is impaired suggesting a possible interaction between paracrine signaling and gap junctional communication. To assess this possibility, we analyzed gene expression in mutant ovaries. Despite the lack of gap junctional coupling between granulosa cells of Cx43 null mutant ovaries, expression of the genes encoding KITL and its receptor, KIT, is maintained. Furthermore, GDF9 expression is maintained. In GDF9 null mutant ovaries, there is no apparent change in Cx43 expression and, correspondingly, the granulosa cells remain coupled. There is also no increase in granulosa cell apoptosis in ovaries lacking Cx43 or GDF9. Staining for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) revealed that the granulosa cells of Cx43 null mutant ovaries have a reduced frequency of DNA synthesis. Using both radiolabeled thymidine incorporation and PCNA staining in vitro, we showed that recombinant GDF9 could restore the proliferation of coupling-deficient granulosa cells to the level of control cells. These results indicate that impaired folliculogenesis in mice lacking Cx43 is due at least in part to reduced responsiveness of granulosa cells to oocyte-derived GDF9, indicating an interaction between these two modes of intercellular communication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center