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    The obligatory role of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in normal development and function of ovarian antral follicles is well recognized, but its function in preantral growth is less clear. The specific objective of this study was to investigate the response, in culture, to FSH of mouse preantral follicles of increasing size, focusing particularly on growth rate and gene expression. Preantral follicles were mechanically isolated from ovaries of C57BL/6 mice, 12 to 16 days postpartum, and single follicles cultured for up to 96 hours in medium alone (n = 511) or with recombinant human FSH 10 ng/mL (n = 546). Data were grouped according to initial follicle diameter in 6 strata ranging from <100 to >140 μm. Follicles of all sizes grew in the absence of FSH (P < 0.01, paired t test). All follicles grew at a faster rate (P < 0.0001) in the presence of 10 ng/mL FSH but larger follicles showed the greatest change in response to FSH. Even the smallest follicles expressed FSH receptor messenger RNA (mRNA). FSH-induced growth was inhibited by KT5720, an inhibitor of protein kinase A (PKA), implicating the PKA pathway in FSH-induced follicle growth. In response to FSH in vitro, FSH receptor mRNA (measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction) was reduced (P < 0.01), as was Amh (P < 0.01), whereas expression of StAR (P < 0.0001) and the steroidogenic enzymes Cyp11a1 (P < 0.01) and Cyp19 (P < 0.0001) was increased. These results show heterogeneous responses to FSH according to initial follicle size, smaller follicles being less FSH dependent than larger preantral follicles. These findings strongly suggest that FSH has a physiological role in preantral follicle growth and function. Copyright © 2017 by the Endocrine Society.


    Kate Hardy, Mark Fenwick, Jocelyn Mora, Mhairi Laird, Kacie Thomson, Stephen Franks. Onset and Heterogeneity of Responsiveness to FSH in Mouse Preantral Follicles in Culture. Endocrinology. 2017 Jan 01;158(1):134-147

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    PMID: 27819761

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