This study provides a valdable insight into the localization of growth factors in paraffin sections of human ovarian tissue.
Antibodies to epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factors alpha and beta (TGF α and β) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) were applied to paraffin sections of 16 cases of formalin-fixed normal or benignly abnormal ovarian tissue. All growth factor antibodies reacted with theca, but not granulosa cells, whilst the antibody to EGFR reacted with both types of follicular cells and was weakly reactive in ovarian stroma. There were no discernible qualitative changes in reactivity during the follicular cycle. These immunohistochemical findings generally support previously published molecular and biochemical data from tissue culture. One exception is in the observation of immunoreactivity to EGF in theca and granulosa cells. This may be due to differences in sensitivity of the methods in use. The possibility of a cross-reaction of the anti-EGF antibody with TGFα is also discussed. This study provides evidence for both paracrine and autocrine roles for growth factors in folliculogenesis.