SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Contents

This study was designed to describe, both quantitatively (morphometry) and qualitatively (histological differentiation), follicle and oocyte growth in the feline ovary. The ovaries of 43 cats were collected and processed for histology. The diameters of 832 follicle/oocyte pairs were measured, with and without zona pellucida (ZP), and a special emphasis was placed on the study of early folliculogenesis. Primordial, primary, secondary, pre-antral and early antral follicles were measured at 44.3, 86.2, 126.0, 155.6 and 223.8 μm in diameter respectively. A biphasic pattern of follicle and oocyte growth was observed. Before antrum formation, follicle (x) and oocyte (y) size were positively and linearly correlated (y = 0.500x + 20.01, r2 = 0.89). Antrum formation occurred when the follicle reached 160–200 μm in diameter (when oocyte was at 102 μm). After antrum formation, a decoupling was observed, a minimal increase in oocyte size contrasting with a significant follicle development (y = 0.001x + 114.39, r2 = 0.01). The pre-ovulatory follicle diameter was approximately 3500 μm and the maximal oocyte diameter was 115 μm. The ZP, absent in primordial and primary follicles, appeared at the secondary stage and reached almost 6 μm at the pre-ovulatory stage. These results suggest that (i) in feline ovary, follicle and oocyte growth pattern is similar to that observed in other mammals; (ii) the antrum forms in 160–200 μm follicles, which represents 5% of the pre-ovulatory diameter and (iii) the oocyte had achieved more than 90% of its maximal growth at the stage of antrum formation.