Reproductive Biology

Factor Cascade

Science's STKE  03 Feb 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 218, pp. tw42-TW42
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2182004TW42

During the middle part of the mammalian reproductive cycle, a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) is followed by a series of changes in the ovarian follicle, including resumption of oocyte meiosis and increased gene expression in cells surrounding the oocyte. The end point of these changes is follicle rupture and ovulation of a fertilizable egg. It has been unclear how LH participates in this series of events, because the oocyte and surrounding cumulus cells do not respond directly to LH and do not express LH receptors. Park et al. show that LH operates via intermediary factors of the epidermal growth factor family to trigger cumulus expansion and oocyte meiotic maturation. Elucidation of LH action on the ovary may be useful in manipulating follicular function in the treatment of infertility.

J.-Y. Park, Y.-Q. Su, M. Ariga, E. Law, S.-L. C. Jin, M. Conti, EGF-like growth factors as mediators of LH action in the ovulatory follicle. Science 303, 682-684 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]