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REVIEW  NEW INSIGHTS IN MOLECULAR HUMAN REPRODUCTION 

Minerva Ginecologica 2018 October;70(5):549-60

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4784.18.04274-0

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Programmed cell death in the human ovary

Serena MARCOZZI, Valerio ROSSI, Antonietta SALUSTRI, Massimo DE FELICI, Francesca G. KLINGER

Section of Histology and Embryology, Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy



During a woman’s reproductive life, only about 400 primordial follicles will develop into a preovulatory follicle and undergo ovulation, releasing an oocyte available for fertilization. The process of formation and selection of these follicles is complex and involves a multistep process characterized by a balance between survival and death of the oocytes and the surrounding follicular cells. Although the mechanisms underlying such process are not completely clarified yet, it is common idea that they can occur through various types of programmed cellular death (PCD). Since atresia is the principal destiny of the ovarian follicles, it is relevant to understand how this process takes place and how it is regulated. In this review, after a summary description of folliculogenesis in humans, the main mechanisms of atresia reported to occur during folliculogenesis from birth to adult age, in the human ovary and in other mammals when appropriate, are described.


KEY WORDS: Ovarian follicle - Germ cells - Ovarian reserve - Apoptosis - Abnormalities

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