Some fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) affect ovarian follicle cell growth and/or differentiation. Whereas many FGFs activate several FGF receptors, FGF7 and FGF10 primarily activate only one, FGFR2B. As FGF7 is produced by bovine theca cells and acts on granulosa cells, we tested the hypothesis that FGF10 may also play a role in folliculogenesis in cattle. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction demonstrated the presence of FGF10 mRNA in the oocytes and theca cells of the antral follicles, as well as in the preantral follicles. FGF10 protein was detected by immunohistochemistry in the oocytes of the preantral and antral follicles, and in the granulosa and theca cells of the antral follicles. FGF10 expression in theca cells changed during follicle development; mRNA abundance decreased with increasing follicular estradiol concentration in healthy follicles, and was lowest in highly atretic follicles. Culturing of granulosa cells in serum-free medium revealed FSH regulation of FGF10 receptor expression. The addition of FGF10 to cultured granulosa cells decreased the level of estradiol but did not alter cell proliferation. These data support a role for FGF10 in signaling to granulosa cells from theca cells and/or the oocyte.
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Vol. 77 • No. 4