Endothelial cell-derived fibroblast growth factor-18 regulates ovarian function in sheep.

TitleEndothelial cell-derived fibroblast growth factor-18 regulates ovarian function in sheep.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsEstienne, A, Relav, L, Benkoura, M, Monniaux, D, Morin, F, Fabre, S, Price, CA
JournalJ Cell Physiol
Date Published2022 Mar 21

Increasing the efficiency of farm animal reproduction is necessary to reduce the environmental impact of food production systems. One approach is to increase the number of healthy eggs (oocytes) produced per female for fertilization, thus it is important to understand factors that decrease oocyte health. One paracrine factor that decreases ovarian follicle growth is fibroblast growth factor 18 (FGF18) secreted by cells in the theca layer of the ovarian follicle, however the factors that regulate FGF18 secretion are unknown. In this study we hypothesized that FGF18 secretion is controled by intrafollicular factors and is linked to fertility, which we tested by using cell culture and sheep genetic models in vivo. Separation of theca cell populations revealed that FGF18 messenger RNA (mRNA) is located mainly in thecal endothelial rather than endocrine cells, and immunohistochemistry localized FGF18 protein to microvessels in the theca layer in situ. Culture of ovine theca-derived endothelial cells was used to demonstrate stimulation of FGF18 mRNA and protein abundance by bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), a growth factor derived from theca endocrine cells. Taking advantage of a sheep genetic model, we demonstrate reduced ovarian and peripheral FGF18 concentrations in the hyperprolific Booroola ewe harboring the FecB mutation in BMPR1B. These data suggest a novel control of fertility by follicular endothelial cells, in which theca endocrine cells secrete BMP4 that stimulates the secretion of FGF18 from thecal endothelial cells, which in turn diffuses into the granulosa cell layer and promotes apoptosis.

Alternate JournalJ Cell Physiol
PubMed ID35315069
Grant List / / Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Nature et Technologies /
/ / Agence Nationale de la Recherche /
/ / Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada /