The notion that estrogens play a meaningful role in ovarian folliculogenesis stems from a large body of in vitro and in vivo experiments carried out in certain rodent models, (e.g., rats) wherein the stimulatory role of estrogen on granulosa cell growth and differentiation is undisputed. However, evidence derived from these polyovulatory species may not be readily generalizable to the monoovulatory subhuman primates, let alone the human. Only recently, significant observations on the ovarian role(s) of estrogen have been reported for the primate/human. It is thus the objective of this communication to review the evidence for and against a role for estrogens in primate/human ovarian follicular development with an emphasis toward the application of the concepts so developed to contemporary reproductive physiology and to the practice of reproductive medicine. The role(s) of estrogens will be examined not only by analyzing the physiological evidence to the effect that these hormones control ovarian function and follicular growth, but also by summarizing the molecular evidence for the existence and distribution of the cognate receptors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism