Immunohistochemical localization of the bone morphogenetic protein receptors in the porcine ovary

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The bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family is emerging as playing a crucial role in regulating normal follicle growth and determining ovulation rate. BMPs exert their effects via BMP receptors (BMPR-IA, -IB and -II). However, there is a paucity of information relating to the expression of the BMPRs within the ovary of large polyovular species such as the pig. Furthermore, there is a lack of information on the expression of BMPRs by fetal ovaries of any species. The purpose of this study was to investigate temporal and spatial expression of the BMPRs in the porcine ovary, at different developmental stages. Immunohistochemistry for BMPR-IA, BMPR-IB and BMPR-II was performed using sections from paraffin wax-embedded ovaries, obtained from fetal (n = 15), prepubertal (n = 3) and cycling postpubertal (n = 4) pigs. Results confirmed the presence of all three receptors in the fetal egg nests and in the granulosa cell layer of follicles ranging from primordial to late antral stages. Immunostaining was also observed in oocytes, theca layer, corpus luteum and ovarian surface epithelium. The expression of BMPRs by fetal ovaries may be related to follicle formation, whereas expression in pre- and post-pubertal animals indicates BMPs are involved in regulating porcine ovarian follicle growth.

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