• rainbow trout;
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss;
  • germinal epithelium;
  • folliculogenesis;
  • follicle;
  • oocyte;
  • ovary


The rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792), is a salmoniform fish that spawns once per year. Ripe females that had ovulated naturally, and those induced to ovulate using salmon gonadotropin-releasing hormone, were studied to determine whether follicles were forming at the time of spawning and to describe the process of folliculogenesis. After ovulation, the ovaries of postspawned rainbow trout were examined histologically, using the periodic acid-Schiff procedure, to stain basement membranes that subtend the germinal epithelium and to interpret and define the activity of the germinal epithelium. After spawning, the ovary contained a few ripe oocytes that did not ovulate, numerous primary growth oocytes including oocytes with cortical alveoli, and postovulatory follicles. The germinal epithelium was active in postspawned rainbow trout, as determined by the presence of numerous cell nests, composed of oogonia, mitotic oogonia, early diplotene oocytes, and prefollicle cells. Cell nests were separated from the stroma by a basement membrane continuous with that subtending the germinal epithelium. Furthermore, follicles containing primary growth oocytes were connected to the germinal epithelium; the basement membrane surrounding the follicle joined that of the germinal epithelium. After ovulation, the basement membrane of the postovulatory follicle was continuous with that of the germinal epithelium. We observed consistent separation of the follicle, composed of an oocyte and surrounding follicle cells, from the ovarian stroma by a basement membrane. The follicle is derived from the germinal epithelium. As with the germinal epithelium, follicle cells derived from it never contact those of the connective tissue stroma. As with epithelia, they are always separated from connective tissue by a basement membrane. J. Morphol., 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.