Primordial follicle formation – Some assembly required

Jessica M. O'Connell, Melissa E. Pepling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The formation of primordial follicles occurs when germ cell nests break apart and individual oocytes become surrounded by pregranulosa cells. Why mammalian germ cells develop in germ cell nests is not fully understood but recent work has provided evidence that some oocytes serve as nurse cells supporting other oocytes in the cyst. Headway has also been made in understanding interactions that occur between cyst cells that must change as individual oocytes separate to associate with pregranulosa cells. As germ cell nests undergo breakdown some oocytes are lost by programmed cell death that has been attributed to apoptosis, but newer studies have implicated autophagy in counteracting apoptosis to promote cell survival and maintain the ovarian reserve. Work in the past few years has added to already known pathways regulating primordial follicle formation and has identified new players, including signaling molecules, transcription factors, and RNA binding proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-127
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Endocrine and Metabolic Research
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Germ cell cysts
  • Nest breakdown
  • Oocyte survival
  • Ovarian reserve
  • Primordial follicle formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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