The mammalian oocyte orchestrates the rate of ovarian follicular development.

Document Type


Publication Date



Female, Granulosa-Cells, Mammals, Mice, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Oocytes, Ovarian-Follicle, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S

JAX Source

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002 Mar 5; 99(5):2890-4.




The development of both the mammalian oocyte and the somatic cell compartments of the ovarian follicle is highly coordinated; this coordination ensures that the ovulated oocyte is ready to undergo fertilization and subsequent embryogenesis. Disruption of this synchrony results in oocyte developmental failure. Communication between the oocyte and companion somatic cells is essential for successful development of both follicular compartments. However, it was not previously known whether one cell type, either the somatic or the germ cell compartment, determines the overall rate of follicular development. To test the hypothesis that the oocyte orchestrates the rate of follicle development, mid-sized oocytes isolated from secondary follicles were transferred back to primordial follicles, the earliest stage of follicular development. This transfer doubled the rate of follicular development and the differentiation of follicular somatic cells. Oocyte development in these accelerated follicles appeared normal; recovered oocytes were competent to undergo fertilization and embryonic development. These results demonstrate that oocytes orchestrate and coordinate the development of mammalian ovarian follicles and that the rate of follicular development is based on a developmental program intrinsic to the oocyte.