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Review
, 16 (9), 632-6

Germ Stem Cells in the Mammalian Adult Ovary: Considerations by a Fan of the Primordial Germ Cells

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Review

Germ Stem Cells in the Mammalian Adult Ovary: Considerations by a Fan of the Primordial Germ Cells

Massimo De Felici. Mol Hum Reprod.

Abstract

At or early after birth, mammalian ovaries are filled with primordial follicles each composed by an oocyte blocked at the end of prophase I surrounded by a single layer of granulosa cells. The doctrine that female mammals are born with a finite number of oocytes fated to be exhausted with the age has been challenged by recent results claiming that new oocytes can be continuously formed in the post-natal mouse ovary. In my view, this notion, termed neo-oogenesis, is strictly linked to the process of the germline specification which presents unique features. Therefore, in the present paper, I am going to discuss two aspects of neo-oogenesis related to this process: first, evidence showing that adult mammalian ovary contains cells able to undergo germline specification and produce new oocytes; and second, the possible origin of such cells. In conclusion, I favour the possibility that a small number of primordial germ cells (PGCs)/oogonia or of PGC-derived undifferentiated cells with stem cell characteristics could remain in the post-natal ovary and under certain conditions may resume mitosis, enter meiosis and give rise to oocytes.

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