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Distribution of extracellular matrix proteins type I collagen, type IV collagen, fibronectin, and laminin in mouse folliculogenesis

Histochemistry and Cell Biology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1007/s00418-006-0194-1
  • Article
  • Biology
  • Chemistry


The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a prominent role in ovarian function by participating in processes such as cell migration, proliferation, growth, and development. Although some of these signaling processes have been characterized in the mouse, the relative quantity and distribution of ECM proteins within developing follicles of the ovary have not been characterized. This study uses immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR to characterize the ECM components type I collagen, type IV collagen, fibronectin, and laminin in the mouse ovary according to follicle stage and cellular compartment. Collagen I was present throughout the ovary, with higher concentrations in the ovarian surface epithelium and follicular compartments. Collagen IV was abundant in the theca cell compartment with low-level expression in the stroma and granulosa cells. The distribution of collagen was consistent throughout follicle maturation. Fibronectin staining in the stroma and theca cell compartment increased throughout follicle development, while staining in the granulosa cell compartment decreased. Heavy staining was also observed in the follicular fluid of antral follicles. Laminin was localized primarily to the theca cell compartment, with a defined ring at the exterior of the follicular granulosa cells marking the basement membrane. Low levels of laminin were also apparent in the stroma and granulosa cell compartment. Taken together, the ECM content of the mouse ovary changes during follicular development and reveals a distinct spatial and temporal pattern. This understanding of ECM composition and distribution can be used in the basic studies of ECM function during follicle development, and could aid in the development of in vitro systems for follicle growth.

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