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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2008 Jul 16;289(1-2):10-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2008.01.029. Epub 2008 Mar 10.

Zona pellucida components are present in human fetal ovary before follicle formation.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oulu, and Clinical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.


The zona pellucida is a glycoprotein matrix surrounding oocytes and early-stage embryos in mammals. To elucidate the roles of the zona pellucida glycoproteins ZP1 and ZP3 and their key regulatory factor FIGLA in human ovarian development and folliculogenesis, their expression and localization was studied in human fetal and adult ovaries. FIGLA mRNA and ZP3 mRNA/protein were localized mainly in the oocytes, and during fetal development their maximal expression was observed around the 20th week, the time of follicle formation. The expression of ZP1 mRNA was low both in fetal and adult ovaries. Present findings demonstrate that ZP3 and FIGLA transcripts are expressed in the oocytes from early ovarian development. The function of ZP proteins during early fetal life is not clear, but the simultaneous expression of FIGLA and ZP3 suggests, that they may have a role in the development of primordial follicle before zona pellucida formation.

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