Indexed on: 14 Jul '06Published on: 14 Jul '06Published in: Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia
The morphology of healthy and atretic follicles in the ovary of the sexually immature ostrich was described in the present study. In addition, the distribution of the intermediate filaments desmin, vimentin and smooth muscle actin, in these ovarian follicles, was demonstrated. Healthy and atretic primordial, pre-vitellogenic and vitellogenic follicles were present in the ovaries of the sexually immature ostrich. Atresia occurred during all stages of follicular development. Atretic primordial and pre-vitellogenic follicles were characterized by the presence of a shrunken oocyte surrounded by a multilayered granulosa cell layer. Two forms of atresia (types 1 and 2) were identified in vitellogenic follicles. In the advanced stages of type 1 atresia the follicle was dominated by a hyalinized mass. In contrast, in type 2 atresia the granulosa and theca interna cells differentiated into interstitial gland cells. Positive immunostaining for desmin was observed in the granulosa cells of only healthy primordial and pre-vitellogenic follicles. Atretic primordial and pre-vitellogenic follicles were immunonegative for desmin. Vimentin immunoreactivity was demonstrated in the granulosa cells of all follicles except the vitellogenic atretic follicles. The results of the present study indicate that ovarian follicles in the sexually immature ostrich undergo a cycle of growth and regression, which is similar to that reported in other avian species. Furthermore, based on the results of the immunohistochemical study, it would appear that the distribution and immunostaining of intermediate filaments changes during follicular development and atresia.