Obesity modulates cell-cell interactions during ovarian folliculogenesis

iScience. 2021 Dec 13;25(1):103627. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.103627. eCollection 2022 Jan 21.


Obesity is known to affect female reproduction, as evidenced by obese patients suffering from subfertility and abnormal oogenesis. However, the underlying mechanisms by which obesity impairs folliculogenesis are poorly documented. Here, we performed comprehensive single-cell transcriptome analysis in both regular diet (RD) and obese mouse models to systematically uncover how obesity affects ovarian follicle cells and their interactions. We found an increased proportion of Inhbb highly expressed granulosa cells (GCs) among all the GC subpopulations in obese mice. Under obese conditions, excessive androgen secreted from endocrine theca cells (ETCs) may contribute to the imbalanced change of GC subtypes through ETCs-GCs interactions. This is alleviated by enzalutamide, an androgen receptor antagonist. We also identified and confirmed typical GC markers, such as Marcks and Prkar2b, for sensitive evaluation of female fertility in obesity. These data represent a resource for studying transcriptional networks and cell-cell interactions during folliculogenesis under physiological and pathological conditions.

Keywords: Biological sciences; Cell biology; Endocrinology; Transcriptomics.