PMID: 3121918Jan 1, 1987

A model for follicular selection and ovulation: lessons from superovulation

Journal of Steroid Biochemistry
D T Baird


A model for selection of the preovulatory follicle during the normal ovarian cycle is proposed. During menstruation the concentration of FSH rises to a level high enough to "activate" a single small antral follicle (2-4 mm dia.) so that it can produce large amounts of oestradiol. As the follicle develops, the concentration of FSH is suppressed below this threshold level by the secretion of oestradiol and inhibin. The dominant follicle becomes increasingly sensitive to FSH so that it continues to develop in an environment which inhibits development of other follicles. Multiple ovulation can be achieved by extending the period during which the level of FSH remains above this threshold level (e.g. during treatment with clomiphene or gonadotrophins). Although multiple ovulation occurs when the gate is widened in this way, the follicles are never completely synchronous as they continue to grow at approximately the same rate. Current evidence suggests that ovulation occurs at random between the two ovaries in successive cycles and that the corpus luteum exerts an inhibitory effect on folliculogenesis by suppressing the secretion of FSH and LH. These observations are compatible with the hypothesis that while small antral follicles are...Continue Reading


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