Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Natural Sciences in General
Immature mammalian oocytes reside in ovarian follicles with junctionally coupled granulosa cells. When released from a currently undefined meiotic arresting influence, these oocytes resume meiosis to progress from late diplotene (germinal vesicle stage) through the first meiotic division to metaphase II. Oocytes remain at metaphase II until fertilization activates them to complete meiosis. This review summarizes ultrastructural events that occur during meiotic maturation in mammals. Developmental correlates that promise a clearer understanding of regulatory mechanisms operating to control maturation are emphasized. By use of TEM of thin sections, freeze-fracture analysis, and replicated oocyte cortical patches, we demonstrate stage-specific changes in the oocyte nucleus, reorganization of cytoplasmic organelles, correlations between oocyte maturational commitment and the junctional integrity of associated granulosa cells, and definition of the components comprising the oocyte cortical cytoplasm.
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