Immunohistochemical Studies of the Adult Human Ovary: Possible Contribution of Immune and Epithelial Factors to Folliculogenesis

Authors

  • Dr. ANTONÍN BuKOVSKý,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville, Tennessee
      Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, 1924 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, TN 37920-6999.
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  • JEFFREY A. KEENAN,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville, Tennessee
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  • MICHAEL R. CAUDLE,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville, Tennessee
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  • JAY WIMALASENA,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville, Tennessee
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  • NIRMALA B. UPADHYAYA,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville, Tennessee
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  • STUART E. VAN METER

    1. Department of Pathology, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville, Tennessee
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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, 1924 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, TN 37920-6999.

Abstract

PROBLEM: Formation of primordial follicles in adult ovaries could be a cryptic process limited to relatively small areas of the ovarian cortex and occurring during a certain stage of the menstrual cycle. Such an event may require a specific milieu provided by factors involved in developmental processes, i.e., morphoregulatory molecules and macrophages.

METHOD: Adult human ovaries were investigated by immunohistochemistry for surface epithelium and granulosa cell markers (cytokeratin 18 and MHC class I), immune system-related morphoregulatory molecules (Thy-1 glycoprotein and N-CAM), and macrophage phenotypes (CD14, CD68, and MHC class II).

RESULTS: In some ovaries 300–500 μm areas of surface epithelium were overgrown by tunica albuginea, descended into the stroma, and apparently fragmented into individual small (20–40 μm) follicle-like cell nests. Differentiation of the surface epithelium was accompanied by macrophages and Thy-1 glycoprotein. Small segments of surface epithelium showed N-CAM and a lacked MHC class I expression. In such segments, clear spherical germ-like cells migrated into the deeper stroma, associated with the microvasculature, and eventually aggregated with follicle-like cell nests.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that surface epithelium may be involved in the formation of some primordial follicles in adult ovaries. This process, and further follicular fate, may require a precise interplay of immune system related morphoregulatory molecules and macrophages.

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