In ovaries with high or low variation in follicle size, granulosa cells of antral follicles exhibit distinct size-related processes

N.G.J. Costermans, J. Keijer, E.M. van Schothorst, B. Kemp, S. Keshtkar, J.E. Bunschoten, N.M. Soede, K.J. Teerds*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Antral follicle size might be a valuable additive predictive marker for IVF outcome. To better understand consequences of antral follicle size as a marker for reproductive outcome, we aimed to obtain insight in follicle size-related granulosa cell processes, as granulosa cells play an essential role in follicular development via the production of growth factors, steroids and metabolic intermediates. Using the pig as a model, we compared gene expression in granulosa cells of smaller and larger follicles in the healthy antral follicle pool of sows which had a high variation versus low variation in follicle size. Selected gene expression was confirmed at the protein level. Granulosa cells of smaller antral follicles showed increased cell proliferation, which was accompanied by a metabolic shift towards aerobic glycolysis (i.e. the Warburg effect), similar to other highly proliferating cells. High granulosa cell proliferation rates in smaller follicles might be regulated via increased granulosa cell expression of the androgen receptor and the epidermal growth factor receptor, which are activated in response to locally produced mitogens. While granulosa cells of smaller follicles in the pool are more proliferative, granulosa cells of larger follicles express more maturation markers such as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and angiopoietin 1 (ANGPT1) and are therefore more differentiated. As both higher IGF1 and ANGPT1 have been associated with better IVF outcomes, the results of our study imply that including smaller follicles for oocyte aspiration might have negative consequences for IVF outcome.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbergaz042
Pages (from-to)614-624
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • follicle development
  • follicle size
  • gene expression
  • granulosa cells
  • IVF
  • metabolism
  • porcine


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