Mouse oocyte control of granulosa cell development and function: paracrine regulation of cumulus cell metabolism

Semin Reprod Med. 2009 Jan;27(1):32-42. doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1108008. Epub 2009 Feb 5.


Bidirectional communication between oocytes and the companion granulosa cells is essential for the development and functions of both compartments. Oocytes are deficient in their ability to transport certain amino acids and in carrying out glycolysis and cholesterol biosynthesis. Cumulus cells must provide them with the specific amino acids and the products in these metabolic pathways. Oocytes control metabolic activities in cumulus cells by promoting the expression of genes in cumulus cells encoding specific amino acid transporters and enzymes essential for the oocyte-deficient metabolic processes. Hence oocytes outsource metabolic functions to cumulus cells to compensate for oocyte metabolic deficiencies. Oocyte control of granulosa cell metabolism may also participate in regulating the rate of follicular development in coordination with endocrine, paracrine, and autocrine signals. Oocytes influence granulosa cell development mainly by secretion of paracrine factors, although juxtacrine signals probably also participate. Key oocyte-derived paracrine factors include growth differentiation factor 9, bone morphogenetic protein 15, and fibroblast growth factor 8B.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cumulus Cells / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Granulosa Cells / metabolism
  • Granulosa Cells / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Paracrine Communication / physiology*