Extensive tissue remodelling is required in equine ovaries for follicle growth and development and also migration of the follicle to the ovulatory fossa, where ovulation occurs. The mechanisms for these processes are largely unexplored. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their endogenous tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) are important for control of breakdown of extracellular matrix during tissue remodelling. The aims of this study were to determine the pattern and sites of secretion of the gelatinases MMP-2 and -9 and TIMPs into follicular fluid during follicle development in mare ovaries. The predominant gelatinase detected in follicular fluid was MMP-2, which was present in similar amounts throughout follicular development, as demonstrated by zymography. MMP-9 was also present in follicular fluid and secretion increased significantly (P < 0.05) with development of follicles from < 10 mm to 11-20 mm in diameter. Follicular fluid also contained TIMP-1, TIMP-2, unglycosylated and glycosylated TIMP-3, and TIMP-4, as shown by reverse zymography. The abundance of TIMPs remained largely unchanged during follicle development. MMP-2 and -9 were localized by immunohistochemistry to stromal cells and granulosa and theca cells. TIMP-1, -2, -3 and -4 were present in granulosa and theca cells of the follicle and in stromal cells and also associated with extracellular matrix of the ovarian stromal tissue. The MMPs and TIMPs are likely to be involved in the regulation of the breakdown of extracellular matrix during tissue remodelling for follicle development and migration to the ovulation fossa in mares.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2001|