Evidence for Follicle Wall Involvement in Ovulation and Progesterone Production by Frog (Rana pipiens) Follicles in vitro


Involvement of different cellular investments of the amphibian ovarian follicle wall in the ovulatory process, progesterone production, and oocyte maturation was investigated. Following microdissection, to selectively remove one or more layers (surface epithelium, theca, follicle cells) of the follicle wall, dissected and undirected ovarian follicles were treated with frog pituitary homogenate (FPH) or progesterone. Intact follicles ovulated in response to pituitary homogenate and this was associated with contractions of the follicle wall. Ovulation and follicular contractions were not observed following removal of the surface epithelium without removing the thecal layer. Oocyte maturation occured in response to FPH following removal of the surface epithelium alone or together with the theca, but not in the absence of the follicle cells. Intact follicles were most responsive to FPH with respect to progesterone production, and removal of all somatic cells from oocytes obliterated FPH stimulated progesterone production. Oocytes, regardless of wether any or all follicular wall layers were removed, matured but did not ovulate following exposure to progesterone. The results suggest that the surface epithelium, but not the theca, is required for FPH-induced extrusion (ovulation) of the oocyte from ovarian follicle wall. Additionally, the somatic tissue rather than the oocyte appears to be the cells producing progesterone following FPH treatment. The results indicate that separate cellular layers (individually and/or as a result of interactions) of the follicle wall carry out different functions during follicular differentiation and mediation of ovulation. Data provide functional evidence for a role of the surface epithelium in controlling the process of ovulation and follicular contraction. © 1982, International Society of Differentiation. All rights reserved.

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