Indexed on: 01 Aug '95Published on: 01 Aug '95Published in: Molecular Reproduction and Development
The distribution of the intermediate filament (IF) proteins desmin, keratin, and vimentin was studied immunohistochemically in bovine ovaries. Special attention was paid to granulosa cells to examine possible marked changes of IF distribution in relation to folliculogenesis during ovarian development. Therefore, ovaries were used from fetuses from 3 months of gestation onward, calves, heifers, and cows. In all ovaries, desmin immunoreactivity was restricted to smooth muscle cells in blood vessel walls. Keratin appeared a characteristic of the ovarian surface epithelium. Co-localization of keratin and vimentin was observed in the epithelium of rete ovarii tubules in fetuses and calves, and in cortical cord epithelium and pregranulosa cells of primordial follicles in fetuses at 3-7 months of gestation. Vimentin was demonstrated in endothelium and in fibroblasts. In addition, vimentin immunoreactivity was present in granulosa cells of primary, secondary, and antral follicles. In antral follicles, these granulosa cells mainly had an elongated appearance and either contained an oblong or a round nucleus. Those with an oblong nucleus were characteristic for atretic antral follicles. In nonatretic follicles, numerous vimentin immunoreactive, elongated granulosa cells with a round nucleus were observed, especially in the peripheral granulosa layer and in small ( < 3 mm in diameter) antral follicles. Additionally, in antral follicles, protrusions of vimentin-positive corona radiata cells were observed, that penetrated the zona pellucida to contact the oocyte. The data show that the distribution of vimentin containing IFs is associated with various aspects of granulosa cell activity, as mitosis, atresia, and intercellular transport.