HOL1: Identification of ovulation related genes and pathways in human follicles at different stages of oocyte maturation

This study is performed at the Fertility Clinic at Holbæk sygehus in collaboration with

The two gonadotrophic hormones that stimulate follicle growth and maturation – Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) – are both secreted from the pituitary gland. LH supports theca cells in the ovaries that provide androgens and hormonal precursors for estradiol production. FSH initiates follicular growth specifically affecting granulosa cells (GC) in the ovaries.

Local genetic mechanisms control human follicle maturation, ovulation and subsequent transformation from the follicular cells surrounding the ovarian follicle into lutein cells, which develop during the luteal phase of the menstrual or oestrous cycle. Lutein cells produce progesterone and estradiol both essential for fertilization and pregnancy.

Gene expression analysis of these follicular cells have in recent years been done several times at the time of oocyte pick up (OPU) approximately 34-36 hours after ovulation triggering. Because of limited access to follicles prior to OPU, the molecular events that take place during the interval between ovulation triggering and OPU have only been studied to a limited extent.

This study compares the GC expressed genes from follicles 12 and 17 hours after ovulation triggering with GC expressed genes 36 hours after ovulation triggering in order to get more information about the complex ovulatory process including steroidogenesis, angiogenesis and inflammatory response.

The study also attempts to show differences in these gene expressions between two generally used trigger compounds (rhCG from Merck Serono and GnRHa from Ferring).

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