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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Apoptosis of granulosa cells and female infertility in achondroplastic mice expressing mutant fibroblast growth factor receptor 3G374R.

Fibroblast growth factors play an important role in the control of ovarian folliculogenesis, but the complete repertoire of ovarian receptors which can transduce the fibroblast growth factor signals and their precise localization in the ovary have not yet been characterized. The most common form of inherited human dwarfism results from a point mutation in the transmembrane region of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3. A mouse model for achondroplasia was generated by introducing the human mutation (glycine 380-arginine) into the mouse fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (G374R) by a "knock-in" approach using gene targeting leading to a constitutively active receptor. This resulted in the development of dwarf mice that share many features with human achondroplasia. Here we report that female (fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 G374R) dwarf mice become infertile. While no significant changes were observed in the anatomical and histological appearance of ovaries of 3-wk-old dwarf mice, a dramatic difference was observed in ovaries of 3-month-old mice. The normal ovary consists mainly of healthy corpora lutea and follicles at different stages of development, whereas the ovaries of the dwarf mice remain small and contain mainly follicles with a progressive apoptosis in the granulosa cells, and no corpora lutea could be observed. The levels of LH, FSH, and progesterone were lower by 72.3%, 38.0%, and 40.0%, respectively, in the blood of the dwarf mice compared with normal mice, and the total bioactivity of pituitary FSH and LH was lower by 65.6% and 79.6%, respectively, in the dwarf mice compared with normal mice. However treatment with PMSG and human CG of the dwarf mice led to rapid follicular development and formation of corpora lutea. Interestingly, the expression of the tumor suppressor gene p53 was increased dramatically in ovaries of the dwarf mice. The presence of the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 cellular receptors in both normal and dwarf animals was demonstrated by Western blot and immunostaining. However, the distribution of the fibroblast growth factor receptors in the two strains shows significant differences. In the normal ovaries fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 was homogeneously distributed on the cell membrane of the granulosa cells and was absent in theca as well as corpora lutea cells, whereas in dwarf mice ovaries it was highly clustered on granulosa cells and very often appears in endocytic vesicles. Aged oocytes were more frequently observed in preantral follicles of ovaries of the dwarf mice. Nevertheless, oocytes isolated from antral follicles resume their meiotic division at a high percentage, similar to oocytes obtained from normal ovaries. The results imply fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 involvement in the control of follicular development through regulation of granulosa cell growth and differentiation, and that unovulation in the dwarf mice could be overcome in part by administration of exogenous gonadotropins. Moreover, it is suggested that the infertile phenotype is partially due to defects in the pituitary-gonadal axis.[1]


  1. Apoptosis of granulosa cells and female infertility in achondroplastic mice expressing mutant fibroblast growth factor receptor 3G374R. Amsterdam, A., Kannan, K., Givol, D., Yoshida, Y., Tajima, K., Dantes, A. Mol. Endocrinol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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