Maturation and Atresia of Human Oocytes in Vivo

  • Mrinal K. Sanyal
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 112)


A small number of oocytes mature and ovulate during the entire reproductive life of women, while a large population of oocytes degenerate during follicular development in the adult human ovary (1). A broad light microscopic survey of the cytological feature of oocytes randomly collected from ovaries of patients without apparent ovarian pathology, revealed that the follicular oocytes could be classified into four different types (2). Briefly, these oocyte types were (i) oocytes with nuclei containing diffused or filamentous chromatin (Type 1), (ii) mature oocytes with metaphase chromosomes or first polar bodies (Type 2), (iii) oocytes with clumped chromatin within the nuclei (Type 3),and (iv) degenerated oocytes (Type 4). The percentages of oocytes of each type during different reproductive states is given in Table 1.


Secretory Phase Polar Body Mature Oocyte Follicular Development Human Oocyte 


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  1. (1).
    L. L. Franchi and T. G. Baker, in: Human Reproduction-Conception to Contraception, ed. E. S. E. Hafez and T. N. Evans ( Harper & Row, New York, 1973 ) p. 53.Google Scholar
  2. (2).
    M. K. Sanyal, M. L. Taymor and M. J. Berger. Fertility and Sterility 27 (1976) 501.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mrinal K. Sanyal
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Environmental ToxicologyNational Institute of Environmental Health SciencesResearch Triangle ParkUSA

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