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Programmed cell death in the human ovary

Minerva ginecologica | 13 Jul 2018

S Marcozzi, V Rossi, A Salustri, M De Felici and FG Klinger
Abstract
During woman’s reproductive life, only about 400 of primordial follicles will develop into a pre- ovulatory 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’s 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.
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