The two principal functions of ovarian follicles are developmental and endocrine. The cumulus cells surrounding the oocyte are specialized to serve the development of the oocyte and steroidogenesis is a principal role of mural granulosa cells that line the follicle wall. The findings in this report demonstrate that oocytectomy or treatment with an inhibitor of SMAD2/3 activation results in decreased cumulus marker mRNA transcript levels and allows FSH to induce mural marker transcripts in cumulus cells. In addition, SMAD2/3 signaling is involved in enabling cumulus expansion and EGF-induced increases in Ptx3, Ptgs2 and Has2 mRNA levels. By contrast, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulated expression of mural transcripts, but suppressed levels of cumulus transcripts. Thus, FSH and oocyte-stimulated SMAD2/3 signaling establish opposing gradients of influence in the follicle. These specify the mural and cumulus granulosa cell phenotypes that are pivotal for appropriate endocrine function and oocyte development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology