Faculty Research 1990 - 1999

Interactions between somatic cells and germ cells throughout mammalian oogenesis.

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Cell-Communication: ph, Female, Granulosa-Cells: cy, ph, Mice, Oocytes: cy, ph, Oogenesis: ph, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S

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JAX Source

Biol Reprod 1990 Oct; 43(4):543-7.


HD20575, HD23839, HD21970


Oocytes and their companion somatic cells maintain a close association throughout oogenesis and this association is essential for normal oocyte and follicular development. This review summarizes current concepts of the role of the somatic cells in the regulation of mammalian oocyte growth, the maintenance of meiotic arrest, the induction of oocyte maturation, and the acquisition of full embryonic developmental competence during oocyte maturation in vitro. Gap junctions appear to mediate these regulatory processes. The regulatory interaction of oocytes and somatic cells, however, is not unidirectional; the oocyte participates in the proliferation, development, and function of the follicular somatic cells. The oocyte secretes factors that enable the cumulus cells to synthesize hyaluronic acid and undergo cumulus expansion in response to hormonal stimulation. In addition, the oocyte produces factors that promote the proliferation of granulosa cells. These interactions in vitro do not appear to require the mediation of gap junctions. The oocyte also promotes the differentiation of granulosa cells into functional cumulus cells, but this function of the oocyte appears to require the continued presence and close association of the oocyte and granulosa cells. Therefore, oocytes and follicular somatic cells are interdependent for development and function.

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