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Clin Exp Reprod Med. 2012 Sep;39(3):95-106. English. In Vitro.
Cheon YP .
Division of Developmental Biology and Physiology, School of Biosciences and Chemistry, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, Korea. ypcheon@sungshin.ac.kr
Abstract

It has been revealed that multiple cohorts of tertiary follicles develop during some animal estrous cycle and the human menstrual cycle. To reach developmental competence, oocytes need the support of somatic cells. During embryogenesis, the primordial germ cells appear, travel to the gonadal rudiments, and form follicles. The female germ cells develop within the somatic cells of the ovary, granulosa cells, and theca cells. How the oocyte and follicle cells support each other has been seriously studied. The latest technologies in genes and proteins and genetic engineering have allowed us to collect a great deal of information about folliculogenesis. For example, a few web pages (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov; http://mrg.genetics.washington.edu) provide access to databases of genomes, sequences of transcriptomes, and various tools for analyzing and discovering genes important in ovarian development. Formation of the antrum (tertiary follicle) is the final phase of folliculogenesis and the transition from intraovarian to extraovian regulation. This final step coordinates with the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. On the other hand, currently, follicle physiology is under intense investigation, as little is known about how to overcome women's ovarian problems or how to develop competent oocytes from in vitro follicle culture or transplantation. In this review, some of the known roles of hormones and some of the genes involved in tertiary follicle growth and the general characteristics of tertiary follicles are summarized. In addition, in vitro culture of tertiary follicles is also discussed as a study model and an assisted reproductive technology model.

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