In mammals, the postnatal loss of more than 99% of female germ cells is due mainly to the process of ovarian follicular atresia. Atresia is known to be mediated by apoptotic granulosa cell-death. Here we show the involvement of neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein (NAIP) in ovarian folliculogenesis in which it prevents granulosa cell-death. NAIP has been isolated in association with a neurodegenerative disorder, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), in which it has been shown to suppress mammalian cell-death induced by a variety of stimuli (Liston et al., 1996, Nature 379:349-353). In an in situ hybridization analysis with mouse ovaries, active expression of NAIP mRNA was localized in the granulosa cells of developing follicles from the primary stage to the Graafian stages, whereas the NAIP gene was not expressed or was weakly expressed in follicles that might be undergoing atresia. Gonadotropin, which is known to inhibit apoptosis in ovarian follicles, caused a 2.4-fold increase in NAIP gene expression in the ovary. To study the role of ovarian NAIP, antisense NAIP oligonucleotides were locally delivered into the ovarian bursa. Suppression of ovarian NAIP expression with antisense oligonucleotides evoked a decrease in the number of morphologically normal ovulated oocytes, implying an indirect involvement of NAIP in germ cell development by enhancing the survival of granulosa cells. These findings suggest that gonadotropin-inducible NAIP may indirectly affect oocyte survival as a result of the inhibition of apoptotic granulosa cell-death during follicuIogenesis.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Molecular Reproduction and Development|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|
- Granulosa cell