How the egg-carrying follicles of the ovary are sorted and organised – clues for potential infertility treatment
Major aspects of fertility are determined before we’re even born. The dense arrangement of egg-carrying follicles in the ovaries are laid out in early development. Some of these follicles act as the lifetime reserve of eggs, and with a finite supply getting everything in proper order is essential to establishing fertility. But how this sorting happens is not fully understood. To learn more, researchers examined mouse ovaries at various stages of development using high resolution 3D imaging (pictured), to watch the process like in a stop-motion film. They saw that the ends of each ovary fold towards each other before birth, and that follicle sorting happens at the same time. Simultaneous reshaping of nearby ligaments may point to the forces behind the changes, and this information about how structural transformations are early determinants of egg reserves will help researchers better understand, prevent, and treat infertility.
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