Regulation of maturation in meiotically competent mammalian oocytes is a complex process involving the carefully coordinated exchange of signals between the somatic and germ cell compartments of the ovarian follicle via paracrine and cell-cell coupling pathways. This review highlights recent advances in our understanding of how such signaling controls both meiotic arrest and gonadotropin-triggered meiotic resumption in competent oocytes and relates them to the historical context. Emphasis will be on rodent systems, where many of these new findings have taken place. A regulatory scheme is then proposed that integrates this information into an overall framework for meiotic regulation that demonstrates the complex interplay between different follicular compartments.
(c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.