Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor in goat ovaries and improvement of in vitro caprine preantral follicle survival and growth with VEGF.
ABSTRACT The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on the survival and growth of goat preantral follicles after in vitro culture and to verify the expression of VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-2 in goat ovaries. Ovarian fragments were cultured for 1 or 7 days in minimal essential medium (MEM) with different concentrations of VEGF (1, 10, 50, 100 or 200 ng mL(-1)). Non-cultured (fresh control) and cultured tissues were processed for histological and ultrastructural studies. The results showed that 200 ng mL(-1) VEGF resulted in a similar percentage of normal preantral follicles after 1 and 7 days of culture compared with control. Compared with basic culture medium alone, an increase in follicular and oocyte diameters was observed in the presence of 10 ng mL(-1) VEGF after 7 days culture. Ultrastructural analysis confirmed follicular integrity after 7 days culture in the presence of 200 ng mL(-1) VEGF. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrated the expression of VEGFR-2 in oocytes and granulosa cells of all follicular stages, except in granulosa cells of primordial follicles. In conclusion, the present study has shown that VEGF maintains follicular ultrastructural integrity and promotes follicular growth. In addition, VEGFR-2 is expressed in oocytes of caprine ovarian follicles at all developmental stages and in granulosa cells of developing follicles.
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ABSTRACT: Perifollicular angiogenesis is closely associated with ovarian follicular development. To investigate whether additional induction of perifollicular angiogenesis would support subsequent follicular development, we directly injected vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene fragments into the ovaries of miniature gilts, followed by gonadotroph treatment to stimulate follicle growth. In addition, to confirm extraexpression of the VEGF gene after injection, we assessed the expression of two isoforms of VEGF (VEGF 120 and VEGF 164) in granulosa cells and expression of fms-like tyrosine kinase (Flt-1), expression of fetal liver kinase (Flk-1), and density of capillary networks in theca cells. Direct injection of VEGF gene fragments into the ovaries was performed 7 days before eCG treatment. The ovaries in miniature gilts were removed 72 h after eCG treatment for histological examination. Granulosa cells and thecal tissues in the antral follicles (diameter, >4 mm) were collected to detect the mRNA expression of VEGF isoforms in the granulosa cells and of Flt-1 and Flk-1 in the thecal tissues by semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The VEGF levels were measured in the follicular fluid by enzyme immunoassay. Injection of VEGF gene fragments increased the level of mRNA expression of VEGF 120 and 164 isoforms in the granulosa cells and VEGF protein contents in the follicular fluid. The number of preovulatory follicles and the capillary density in the theca interna increased significantly in the ovaries injected with VEGF gene fragments compared with those treated with eCG alone. The Flt-1, but not the Flk-1, mRNA expression show a tendency toward increasing in the thecal tissues of antral follicles in the ovaries injected with VEGF gene fragments. These results demonstrate that Flt-1 may be predominantly involved in the regulation of the capillary network in the theca interna during follicular development. Our data suggest that the regulation of perifollicular angiogenesis during follicular development is a very important factor in the development of ovulatory follicles. Our findings may offer an innovative technique for enhanced induction of follicular development in the ovary through gene and hormonal treatment, which may lead to prevention of infertility caused by ovarian dysfunction.Biology of Reproduction 10/2003; 69(4):1388-93. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The aims of the present study were to evaluate the effects of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) on survival, activation and growth of caprine early-staged (preantral) follicles using histological and ultrastructural studies. Fragments of caprine ovarian cortex were cultured for 1 or 5 days in an enriched minimum essential medium, supplemented or not with different concentrations of FGF-2 (10, 50 or 100 ng/ml). Fragments from non-cultured ovarian tissue (control) and from tissues cultured for 1 or 5 days in a specific medium were processed for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) or classical histology to evaluate the morphological quality of caprine preantral follicles and to calculate the percentages of normal follicles. Additionally, effects of FGF-2 on oocyte and follicle diameter of cultured preantral follicles were investigated. Our results showed that, although the percentages of histologically normal follicles were lower in cultured than in non-cultured ovarian tissue fragments, there were no differences in this regard among treatments, neither on day 1 nor on day 5 of culture. After 1 and 5 days of culture, a significantly higher percentage of growing follicles was observed in the medium supplemented with 50 ng/ml of FGF-2. This FGF-2 treatment furthermore resulted in an increase in diameter of both oocytes and follicles that were cultured for 5 days. TEM showed that the ultrastructural integrity of caprine preantral follicles was maintained during their 5-day culture in the presence of 50 ng/ml FGF-2. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that at a concentration of 50 ng/ml FGF-2 not only maintains the morphological integrity of caprine preantral follicles cultured for 5 days, but also stimulates the activation of primordial follicles and the growth of activated follicles.Cells Tissues Organs 02/2007; 186(2):112-20. · 1.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ovarian follicular development in mammals is the complex process including endocrine, paracrine and autocrine. There is the development of four basic stages of ovarian follicles, i.e. the primordial, primary, secondary and tertiary or Graafian follicles. There are few blood vessels in the cortical area where primordial and primary follicles are assembled. The development of these follicles is stimulated by oocytes derived factor including growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF-9) or bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP-15). Porcine GDF-9 complementary DNA (cDNA) cloned, and then injected its gene into the ovary in gilts. The injection of porcine GDF-9 gene resulted in an increase in the number of primary, secondary and tertiary follicles, concomitant with a decrease in the number of primordial follicles, indicating that exogenous GDF-9 can promote early folliculogenesis in the porcine ovary. On the other hand, the development of antral follicles is associated with increased density of blood vessels within the theca cell layers surrounding the follicles. A recent study reported that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) play an important role in the process of thecal angiogenesis during follicular development. To investigate whether additional induction of thecal angiogenesis would support subsequent follicular development, miniature gilts were directly injected VEGF gene into the ovary. Injection of VEGF gene increased the levels of mRNA expression of VEGF 120 and VEGF 164 isoforms in the granulosa cells and VEGF protein contents in the follicular fluid. The number of preovulatory follicles and the capillary density in the theca interna increased significantly in the ovaries injected with VEGF gene compared with those treated with eCG alone, indicating that the regulation of thecal angiogenesis during follicular development is a very important factor in the development of ovulatory follicles. This technique may be an innovative technique for enhanced induction of follicular development in the ovary through gene and hormonal treatment, which may lead to prevention of infertility caused by ovarian dysfunction.Journal of Reproduction and Development 03/2006; 52(1):23-32. · 1.76 Impact Factor