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Biol Reprod. 1991 Apr;44(4):717-24.

Ovarian surface epithelium: autonomous production of connective tissue-type extracellular matrix.

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Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


The ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) is known to contribute to postovulatory repair of the ovarian cortex by proliferation and migration over the site of follicular rupture, and by deposition of a basement membrane. We examined the production of other extracellular matrix components in culture by OSE cells of the rat (ROSE), using immunofluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy, and proline incorporation. We compared recently explanted cells in low passage, the immortal line ROSE 239, whose growth pattern resembles low passage cultures, and the immortal line ROSE 199, which forms ridges and papillae. The epithelial nature of all three cell types was confirmed by the presence of keratin and laminin. All three cell types secreted collagen types I and III and at least one (ROSE 199) produced highly polymerized banded fibrils, which are characteristic for stromal or interstitial extracellular matrix. Simultaneous production of collagen types I and III, keratin, and laminin by cloned subpopulations ruled out an origin of the lines in mixed epithelial/fibroblast populations. The results demonstrate that OSE has the capacity to synthesize major components of connective tissue stroma. They suggest that this epithelium, in addition to its postulated proteolytic role, may also express synthetic activity in the remodelling of the ovarian cortical stroma. A capacity of OSE cells to produce stromal components autonomously might be an important factor in the formation of ovarian surface papillae and in neoplastic progression of OSE-derived ovarian carcinomas.

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