In the pig ovary, the transition from primordial to primary and secondary ovarian follicles begins before birth, but antral follicles can be observed, for the first time, at approximately 60-90 d of age. At approximately the same time, secondary follicles become responsive to gonadotropins, leading to the formation of antral follicles. Placing pieces of ovarian tissue under the kidney capsule of immunodeficient (SCID) mice allows the requirements for follicular recruitment and development to be studied. The objective of this study was to investigate if primordial follicles contained in ovarian fragments isolated from newborn piglets (36 +/- 12 h old) and immediately transplanted under the kidney capsule of SCID mice, are able to become responsive to gonadotropins after 60 d (as in an unaltered animal). Ovarian fragments were transplanted under the kidney capsule of three groups of four female and four male SCID mice. The first group did not receive any hormonal treatment for 12 wk. The second group was treated from the 9th week with 1 IU of FSH/LH on alternating days for 3 wk, and the third group was treated with 5 IU Pregnant Mare Serum Ganadotropin (PMSG) 48 h before euthanasia. Primordial follicles contained in ovarian fragments isolated from newborn piglets developed only to the secondary stage. Therefore, development of gonadotropin responsiveness in ovarian fragments xenotransplanted in SCID mice was delayed compared to what occurs in the unaltered animal, and there was minimal response to exogenous gonadotropins.
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