Domestic ruminants as models for the elucidation of the mechanisms controlling ovarian follicle development in humans

B K Campbell, C Souza, J Gong, R Webb, N Kendall, P Marsters, G Robinson, A Mitchell, E E Telfer, D T Baird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is necessary to understand the basic physiology underlying the complex process of folliculogenesis to address common causes of infertility and to devise innovative strategies to increase the efficiency of assisted reproduction technologies. Availability of suitable ovarian tissue is a major constraint to research in this area in humans, and monovulatory domestic ruminants represent a physiologically relevant model to elucidate basic mechanisms before more focused clinical investigations. This paper reviews the development of several whole animal and cell culture models in ruminants that have allowed basic investigations into the endocrine and local mechanisms regulating preantral and antral follicle development in monovulatory species. Studies on preantral follicle development using the ovarian autograft model have shown, contrary to accepted dogma, that FSH may mediate the rate at which preantral follicles grow and have provided evidence to support the existence of local regulatory feedback mechanisms that influence the rate of primordial follicle initiation and preantral follicle development. Studies on the endocrine control of antral follicle development using the GnRH-antagonist model have shown that a pulsatile mode of LH delivery is not a requirement for normal patterns of follicle development and ovarian hormone secretion. Studies on the local control of somatic cell differentiation using physiological cell culture models have highlighted the essential relationship between somatic cell communication and expression of differentiative markers. We conclude that the domestic ruminant represents a valuable model system for the elucidation of the endocrine and local mechanisms controlling both early and terminal stages of follicle development in monovulatory species. The results of these investigations have direct strategic relevance within clinical medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-43
Number of pages15
JournalReproduction (Cambridge, England) Supplement
Volume61
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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