Development of steroid signaling pathways during primordial follicle formation in the human fetal ovary

Fowler, P.A. et al. (2011) Development of steroid signaling pathways during primordial follicle formation in the human fetal ovary. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 96(6), pp. 1754-1762. (doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-2618)

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Abstract

<br>Context: Ovarian primordial follicle formation is critical for subsequent human female fertility. It is likely that steroid, and especially estrogen, signaling is required for this process, but details of the pathways involved are currently lacking.</br> <br>Objective: The aim was to identify and characterize key members of the steroid-signaling pathway expressed in the second trimester human fetal ovary.</br> <br>Design: We conducted an observational study of the female fetus, quantifying and localizing steroid-signaling pathway members.</br> <br>Setting: The study was conducted at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.</br> <br>Patients/Participants: Ovaries were collected from 43 morphologically normal human female fetuses from women undergoing elective termination of second trimester pregnancies.</br> <br>Main Outcome Measures: We measured mRNA transcript levels and immunolocalized key steroidogenic enzymes and steroid receptors, including those encoded by ESR2, AR, and CYP19A1.</br> <br>Results: Levels of mRNA encoding the steroidogenic apparatus and steroid receptors increased across the second trimester. CYP19A1 transcript increased 4.7-fold during this period with intense immunostaining for CYP19A detected in pregranulosa cells around primordial follicles and somatic cells around oocyte nests. ESR2 was localized primarily to germ cells, but androgen receptor was exclusively expressed in somatic cells. CYP17A1 and HSD3B2 were also localized to oocytes, whereas CYP11A1 was detected in oocytes and some pregranulosa cells.</br> <br>Conclusions: The human fetal ovary expresses the machinery to produce and detect multiple steroid signaling pathways, including estrogenic signaling, with the oocyte acting as a key component. This study provides a step-change in our understanding of local dynamics of steroid hormone signaling during the key period of human primordial follicle formation.</br>

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Monteiro, Dr Ana and O'Shaughnessy, Professor Peter
Authors: Fowler, P.A., Anderson, R.A., Saunders, P.T., Kinnell, H., Mason, J.I., Evans, D.B., Bhattacharya, S., Flannigan, S., Franks, S., Monteiro, A., and O'Shaughnessy, P.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
ISSN:0021-972X
ISSN (Online):1945-7197
Published Online:23 March 2011

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