Human small antral follicles (diameter 3–9 mm) were obtained from ovaries surgically removed for fertility preservation. From the individual aspirated follicles, granulosa cells and the corresponding follicular fluid were isolated in 64 follicles, of which 55 were available for mRNA analysis (24 women). Expressions of androgen receptor (AR) mRNA levels in granulosa cells, and of androstenedione and testosterone in follicular fluid, were correlated to the expression of the FSH receptor (FSHR), LH receptor (LHR), CYP19 and anti-Müllerian Hormone-receptor II (AMHRII) mRNA in the granulosa cells and to the follicular fluid concentrations of AMH, inhibin-B, progesterone and estradiol. AR mRNA expression in granulosa cells and the follicular fluid content of androgens both showed a highly significant positive association with the expression of FSHR mRNA in granulosa cells. AR mRNA expression also correlated significantly with the expression of AMHRII, but did not correlate with any of the hormones in the follicular fluid. These data demonstrate an intimate association between AR expression in immature granulosa cells, and the expression of FSHR in normal small human antral follicles and between the follicular fluid levels of androgen and FSHR expression. This suggests that follicular sensitivity towards FSH stimulation may be augmented by stimulation of androgens via the AR.
- LHR mRNA expression
- small human antral follicles