[Frontiers in Bioscience 1, d1-11, January 1, 1996]
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CAVEAT LECTOR



THE MOLECULAR BASIS OF OVARIAN CELL DEATH DURING GERM CELL ATTRITION, FOLLICULAR ATRESIA, AND LUTEOLYSIS

Jonathan L. Tilly, Ph.D.

The Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School,Boston, MA 02114 USA

Received 12/14/95; Accepted 12/29/95; On-line 1/1/96



4. Conclusions

The recent use of sophisticated molecular biological techniques to study the female reproductive system has provided unequivocal proof that the process of apoptosis is a fundamental event in normal ovarian function. The occurrence of apoptosis in germ cells, granulosa cells, and cells of the CL is most likely regulated by cell type-specific hormonal signals. However, death of all ovarian cells may share a final common pathway of intracellular effectors involving members of the bcl-2 gene family, oxidative stress response factors, transcriptional regulators, and cytoplasmic proteases. Characterization of the role of these conserved cell death regulators will provide exciting new data regarding the molecular basis of ovarian development and function. Furthermore, this knowledge may allow development of novel approaches to overcome normal and pathophysiological senescence of the ovary, and to improve the pregnancy success rates of Assisted Reproductive Technology Programs.

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