Involvement of miRNAs in ovarian follicular and luteal development

Francesc Xavier Donadeu, Stephanie Schauer, Sadanand Sontakke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Although much progress has been made in the genetic dissection of biological networks involved in follicular/luteal development in the mammalian ovary, the gene regulation mechanisms involved are still poorly understood. Over the last 10 years, miRNAs have emerged as master regulators of tissue growth and differentiation in animals. However, compared to other body tissues, little is still known on the functional involvement of miRNAs in the ovary. Several studies have identified miRNA populations specifically associated with the development of follicles and corpora lutea, particularly in relation to the follicular-luteal transition, and the functional involvement of some of these miRNAs has been characterised in vitro and/or in vivo. Specifically, three different miRNAs, miR-224, miR-378 and miR-383, have shown to be involved in regulating aromatase expression during follicle development. In addition, miR-21 has been identified as promoting follicular cell survival during ovulation, and pro-angiogenic miR-17-5p and let-7b were shown to be necessary for normal development of the corpus luteum. Experimental evidence for the involvement of several other miRNAs in different aspects of follicle/luteal development has also been obtained. In addition, many of these studies exemplify the challenges associated with identifying physiologically relevant targets of ovarian miRNAs. Continuous advances in this field will be considerably facilitated by progress in understanding miRNA physiology in other body systems and will eventually lead to a much better understanding of the control of follicular/luteal development. In turn, through the potential offered by miRNA diagnostics and miRNA therapeutics, this new knowledge should bring considerable benefits to Reproductive medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-334
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number3
Early online date6 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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