Pattern of vitellogenesis and follicle maturational competence during the ovarian follicular cycle of Fundulus heteroclitus

Joan Cerdá, Bruce G. Calman, Gary J. LaFleur, Sean Limesand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The patterns of vitellogenesis and follicle maturational competence were examined across the semilunar spawning cycle of Fundulus heteroclitus. Daily egg collection showed spawning cyclicity in six experimental groups, with a mean period between spawnings of 14.9 ± 0.3 days, indicated by the nonlinear regression sine-curve matching analysis. Each cycle was then dated from Day - 7 to Day 7, with Day 0 as the peak egg-collection day. Females from each group were sampled on selected days during two to three consecutive spawning cycles, and these days were each chronologically given a temporal relation to Day 0 to pool the data into a composite. The analysis of the size-frequency distribution of ovarian follicles ≤0.5-mm diameter across the composite revealed a constant recruitment of small follicles (0.5- to 0.7-mm diameter) into vitellogenesis, which was supported by the continuous presence of vitellogenin (Vtg) 1 mRNA in the liver of the females. The plasma levels of Vtg were also essentially constant across the cycle, except for a progressive decrease from Day -7 through Day 3 that could be related to a more active Vtg uptake by a dominant population of follicles up to 1.7 mm in diameter. A second and more selective recruitment of full-grown follicles (1.3- to 1.4- mm diameter) toward maturation was noted at Days -5, -4, which appeared associated with high plasma levels of estradiol-17β. However, the responsiveness of those follicles undergoing oocyte maturation in vitro after gonadotropin and maturation-inducing steroid (MIS), 17,20β-dihydroxy-4- pregnen-3-one, stimulation dramatically declined from Days -1, 0, 1 to Days 4, 5, concomitantly with an increase of the population of the largest follicles (1.8- to 2.1-mm diameter) in the ovary. These findings extend previous observations on the process of follicular recruitment in F. heteroclitus and indicate that full-grown follicles may be recruited into maturation by a mechanism that modulates the oocyte sensitivity to the MIS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-35
Number of pages12
JournalGeneral and comparative endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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