Ovarian follicular growth, ovulation and atresia: Endocrine, paracrine and autocrine regulation

K. H. Moley, J. R. Schreiber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This chapter describes a finely tuned series of events that results in ovarian morphological changes including follicular growth, dominant follicle selection, oocyte development, ovulation, and corpus luteum formation. These changes are under the obligate control of the pituitary gonadotropins FSH and LH. The signaling mechanisms whereby the gonadotropins stimulate these changes in the ovary arc now well described. The gonadotropin membrane receptors have been cloned and the cellular events proceeding from receptor binding to phosphorylation of protein gene regulators, such as CREB, have been elucidated. A whole series of intraovarian paracrine and autocrine regulators have been described as having the capability of 'fine tuning' the effects of gonadotropins (see Tables I and II), and they are likely involved in dominant follicle selection and the demise of the corpus luteum. The roles of the individual paracrine regulators are, as of yet, not well known, but the IGF system offers an attractive paradigm for these intraovarian factors. Lastly, we have described the explosion of data on intracellular and intranuclear regulators. The challenge for us will be to understand the physiological significance of the seemingly unlimited number of regulatory possibilities. Much has been learned concerning the regulation of the morphological changes seen in the ovary, but much more remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-119
Number of pages17
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


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