Author(s): Reynaud K, Driancourt MA
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Abstract During oogenesis, germ cell numbers sharply decrease when meiosis is initiated. There is solid evidence (DNA ladders, in situ detection) that this loss is through apoptosis. Oocyte apoptosis appears to hit mitotic primordial germ cells (PGC), pachytene oocytes and early primordial follicles. The control of oocyte apoptosis is not fully understood, although survival factors (LIF, kit ligand and FGF), as well as death inducing factors (fas ligand, TGFbeta), have been identified. Fas ligand binding on oocytic fas may result in caspase 8 activation. Two pathways inducing oocyte apoptosis may then be operating. In the first one, activated caspase 8 will induce activation of executioner caspases. In the second one, activated caspase 8 will trigger the cleavage of the bcl(2) family member Bid, which will act on mitochondria, resulting in cytochrome c release, caspase 9 activation and finally, activation of all executioner caspases. As a consequence of caspase activation, alterations in the cell nucleus (DNAse activation, PARP fragmentation), in the cell cytoskeleton (lamin) and cell metabolism will occur, producing cell death. During folliculogenesis, germ cell loss, owing to oocyte apoptosis, has been postulated within primordial and preantral follicles. Its regulatory mechanisms may be even more complex than those operating in foetal oocytes since additional control factors include EGF/TGFalpha and bcl(2) (survival) and activin (death inducer). In contrast, oocytes from antral follicles appear to be very unsensitive to death inducing stimuli.
This article was published in Mol Cell Endocrinol
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology