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1 July 2000 Hyaluronic Acid as an Anti-Angiogenic Shield in the Preovulatory Rat Follicle
Catherine Tempel, Assaf Gilead, Michal Neeman
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Angiogenesis in the preovulatory follicle is confined to the theca cell layers, and penetration of capillaries through the basement membrane into the granulosa cell layers does not occur until after ovulation. However, elevated expression of the angiogenic growth factor (VEGF) has been reported in the cumulus cells surrounding the oocyte, which are expelled from the follicle during ovulation. This spatial and temporal discrepancy between VEGF expression and angiogenesis was studied here in the rat ovarian follicle, and we showed that cumulus cells secrete to the follicular fluid, in addition to VEGF, material with antiangiogenic activity that blocks endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and capillary formation in vitro. Hyaluronic acid produced by the cumulus cells can account for this antiangiogenic activity. Degradation of hyaluronic acid by hyaluronidase restored proliferation and migration of endothelial cells directed toward the cumulus. Inhibition of hyaluronic acid synthesis with 6-diazo-5-oxo-1-norleucine restored endothelial proliferation and migration in vitro, and it also resulted in early penetration of capillaries across the follicular basement membrane in vivo. These results support the role of hyaluronic acid produced by the cumulus cells as a high-molecular-weight, antiangiogenic shield that prevents premature vascularization of the preovulatory follicle by blocking endothelial cell migration and proliferation.

Catherine Tempel, Assaf Gilead, and Michal Neeman "Hyaluronic Acid as an Anti-Angiogenic Shield in the Preovulatory Rat Follicle," Biology of Reproduction 63(1), 134-140, (1 July 2000).
Received: 14 April 1999; Accepted: 1 February 2000; Published: 1 July 2000

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