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J Reprod Fertil. 1989 Jan;85(1):251-60.

Ovarian interstitial tissue of the wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus.

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Department of Agricultural Science, Oxford University, UK.


The ovary of the wood mouse contains an unusually large amount of interstitial tissue which appears to develop from undifferentiated cells of the ovarian stroma and also by transformation of theca or granulosa cells of atretic follicles. The cells are characterized by the presence of smooth endoplasmic reticulum, rounded mitochondria with tubular cristae, and abundant, large (1.5 micron diameter) lipid droplets containing cholesterol and its esters. 3 beta-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity occurs in the interstitial cells. Their ultrastructural characteristics suggest that the cells are not very active, but their abundance and the considerable amount of steroid hormone precursor they contain may compensate for low secretory activity and they may be an important and (from a developmental viewpoint) early source of steroid hormone.

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