The signals initiating the growth of primordial follicles are unknown. Growth factors such as neurotrophin 4/5 (NT-4/5) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may play a role in this process. To investigate the expression of NT-4/5 and BDNF and their receptor tyrosine kinase B (TrkB) in the early developing follicles, we fixed and froze 12 ovarian samples from adolescents/adults and 31 ovaries from human fetuses. The fixed samples were prepared for immunohistochemical staining for NT-4/5, BDNF and the TrkB receptor. Total RNA was extracted from the frozen ovarian samples, and the expression of NT-4/5, BDNF and the TrkB receptor (full length and two truncated isoforms) was investigated by RT-PCR. Products were resolved by 1% agarose gel electrophoresis and image analysis. Immunohistochemical staining revealed the expression of NT-4/5 and BDNF mainly in oocytes and, in a minority of samples, also in the granulosa cells (GCs); TrkB receptor was identified in oocytes and GCs. Transcripts of NT-4/5, BDNF and all forms of TrkB receptor were identified in the samples. To elucidate whether indeed NT-4/5 and BDNF are involved in growth initiation of human primordial follicles, they should be added to the culture medium.
- Primordial follicles
- TrkB receptor