Autophagy is a mechanism that exists in all eukaryotes under a variety of physiological and pathological conditions. In the mammalian ovaries, less than 1% of follicles ovulate, whereas the remaining 99% undergo follicular atresia. Autophagy and apoptosis have been previously found to be involved in the regulation of both primordial follicular development as well as atresia. The relationship between autophagy, follicular development, and atresia have been summarized in this review with the aim to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the role played by autophagy in follicular development and atresia.
Keywords: atresia; autophagy; follicular development; granulosa cells.