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Mol Endocrinol. 2013 Jul;27(7):1153-71. doi: 10.1210/me.2013-1093. Epub 2013 May 28.

Research resource: preovulatory LH surge effects on follicular theca and granulosa transcriptomes.

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Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3075 HLSIC, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.


The molecular mechanisms that regulate the pivotal transformation processes observed in the follicular wall following the preovulatory LH surge, are still not established, particularly for cells of the thecal layer. To elucidate thecal cell (TC) and granulosa cell (GC) type-specific biologic functions and signaling pathways, large dominant bovine follicles were collected before and 21 hours after an exogenous GnRH-induced LH surge. Antral GCs (aGCs; aspirated by follicular puncture) and membrane-associated GCs (mGCs; scraped from the follicular wall) were compared with TC expression profiles determined by mRNA microarrays. Of the approximately 11 000 total genes expressed in the periovulatory follicle, only 2% of thecal vs 25% of the granulosa genes changed in response to the LH surge. The majority of the 203 LH-regulated thecal genes were also LH regulated in GCs, leaving a total of 57 genes as LH-regulated TC-specific genes. Of the 57 thecal-specific LH-regulated genes, 74% were down-regulated including CYP17A1 and NR5A1, whereas most other genes are being identified for the first time within theca. Many of the newly identified up-regulated thecal genes (eg, PTX3, RND3, PPP4R4) were also up-regulated in granulosa. Minimal expression differences were observed between aGCs and mGCs; however, transcripts encoding extracellular proteins (NID2) and matrix modulators (ADAMTS1, SASH1) dominated these differences. We also identified large numbers of unknown LH-regulated GC genes and discuss their putative roles in ovarian function. This Research Resource provides an easy-to-access global evaluation of LH regulation in TCs and GCs that implicates numerous molecular pathways heretofore unknown within the follicle.

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