During the follicular phase of humans and most nonhuman primates, a single preovulatory follicle usually matures each menstrual cycle. The observation that numerous preovulatory follicles may be stimulated to mature when exogenous gonadotropins are administered indicates that there must be a precise and highly reproducible mechanism by which only one of the many follicles capable of ovulating actually does so. The goal of this review is to summarize past and current research which indicates that follicle selection in primates is the result of an exquisitely sensitive interplay between gonadotropin secretion by the pituitary gland, steroid production by the ovary, and maturation-dependent alterations of the ovary's responsiveness to gonadotropins.
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