Cellular proliferation and vascularization in ovine fetal ovaries: effects of undernutrition and selenium in maternal diet

Anna T Grazul-Bilska, Joel S Caton, Wendy Arndt, Kelly Burchill, Clayton Thorson, Ewa Borowczyk, Jerzy J Bilski, Dale A Redmer, Lawrence P Reynolds, Kimberly A Vonnahme
Reproduction 2009, 137 (4): 699-707
Sheep were fed a maintenance (M) diet with adequate (A) Se or high (H) Se concentration from 21 days before breeding to day 135 of pregnancy. From day 50 to day 135 of pregnancy (tissue collection day), a portion of the ewes from ASe and HSe groups were fed restricted (R; 60% of M) diet. Fetal ovarian sections were stained for: 1) the presence of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (a marker of proliferating cells) to determine the proportion of proliferating primordial follicles, or the labeling index (LI; percentage of proliferating cells) for primordial, primary, secondary and antral follicles, stromal tissues, and blood vessels; 2) factor VIII (a marker of endothelial cells) or 3) a presence of apoptotic cells/bodies. The number of proliferating primordial follicles and the LI of primordial follicles was decreased by R and/or HSe diets. The LI was similar for theca and granulosa cells, and for secondary or antral follicles, but was greater in secondary and antral than in primordial and primary follicles. R diet and/or Se affected the LI in all follicle types, in stromal tissues and blood vessels. A dense network of blood vessels was detected in the areas containing secondary to antral follicles, medulla, and hilus, but areas containing primordial follicles were poorly vascularized. The number of apoptotic cells was minimal. These results demonstrate that nutrient restriction and/or Se level in the maternal diet affected cellular proliferation in follicles, blood vessels, and stromal tissues in fetal ovaries. Thus, plane of nutrition and Se in the maternal diet may impact fetal ovarian development and function.

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