Intercellular communication in the mammalian ovary: oocytes carry the conversation

Science. 2002 Jun 21;296(5576):2178-80. doi: 10.1126/science.1071965.


The production of functional female gametes is essential for the propagation of all vertebrate species. The growth of oocytes within ovarian follicles and their development to mature eggs have fascinated biologists for centuries, and scientists have long realized the importance of the ovarian follicle's somatic cells in nurturing oogenesis and delivering the oocyte to the oviduct by ovulation. Recent studies have revealed key roles of the oocyte in folliculogenesis and established that bidirectional communication between the oocyte and companion somatic cells is essential for development of an egg competent to undergo fertilization and embryogenesis. The challenge for the future is to identify the factors that participate in this communication and their mechanisms of action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Female
  • Granulosa Cells / physiology
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Oogenesis*
  • Ovarian Follicle / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction