Kinetic Aspects of Follicular Development in the Rat

  • Anne N. Hirshfield
  • Waldemar A. Schmidt
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 219)


The ovary has many similarities to other “renewal tissues” in adults. Renewal tissues are those in which differentiated, functional cells are continuously being replaced by proliferation of more primitive cells. These tissues are composed of a hierarchy of cells: at one end of the hierarchy are stem cells which are less differentiated and can divide without limit; at the other end are mature cells which are highly differentiated and have no capacity for proliferation (Mackillop et al., 1983). When a stem cell divides, each daughter cell has a choice: it can either remain a stem cell, or it can embark on a course of “clonal expansion” leading irreversibly to terminal differentiation (Fig 1). Daughter cells which embark on the second course are known as “transitional cells (Selby et al., 1983) or “committed progenitor cells” (Fitchen et al., 1981). Transitional cells have a limited capacity for cell division. They exhibit a continuous gradient of properties along a unidirectional vector; as cells move down the hierarchy, they acquire the differentiated features associated with specific tissue function, and they progressively lose the potential to divide (Mackillop et al., 1983). The more highly differentiated progeny greatly outnumber the less differentiated progenitor cells within the tissue.


Luteinizing Hormone Granulosa Cell Estrous Cycle Primordial Follicle Follicular Development 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne N. Hirshfield
    • 1
  • Waldemar A. Schmidt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, School of MedicineUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of Texas Medical SchoolHoustonUSA

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