Extracellular matrix functions in follicle maturation

Courtney B. Berkholtz, Lonnie D. Shea, Teresa K. Woodruff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The extracellular matrix (ECM) promotes and/or inhibits many cellular processes, including but not limited to proliferation, differentiation, and survival, which must occur for follicle growth and oocyte maturation. The ECM regulation of cellular processes in ovarian cells is being investigated in many animal models, including avian, rat, bovine, porcine, rabbit, sheep, human, and mouse. Granulosa cells are more frequently employed; however, the culture of intact follicles and ovaries has been developed and enables ECM functions in folliculogenesis to be studied. ECM components that have been examined are used individually (collagen, laminin, fibronectin) or collectively (Matrigel, isolated basal lamina, and ECM produced by cell lines) in both two- and three-dimensional model systems. In granulosa cell cultures, ECM affects morphology, aggregation and communication, survival, proliferation, and steroidogenesis; whereas follicle and ovary cultures demonstrate a regulation of folliculogenesis. This article describes the ECM functionality on ovarian cells throughout development, and highlights the potential of developing technologies to identify structure-function relationships in follicle maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-269
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in reproductive medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Granulosa cells
  • Morphology
  • Proliferation
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Physiology (medical)


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