Cell biology international

Involvement of Notch signaling in early chick ovarian follicle development.

PMID 26289531


The formation of primordial follicles is a crucial process in the establishment of follicle pools required for the female's reproductive life span. For laying hens, ample follicles are a prerequisite for high laying performance. Notch signaling plays critical roles in germ cell cysts breakdown and in the formation of primordial follicles. Here, we investigated the role of Notch signaling in the ovarian development of post-hatch chicks. Results showed that around post-hatch day 4 (H4), the germ cell cysts broke apart, oocytes became surrounded by squamous pregranulosa cells, and the primordial follicles were then formed. Subsequently, we detected the expression of Notch signaling-related genes including Notch receptors (Notch1, 2), ligands (Jag1, 2 and Dll1, 4), and target genes (Hes1, Hey1). These genes all showed expression at H4 and some of these genes were up-regulated during primordial follicle formation. To evaluate the Notch signaling requirement for early follicular development, we adopted an in vitro ovary culture system. Suppression of Notch signaling by γ-secretase inhibitor induced a decrease of primordial follicles and an increase of germ cells in cysts. Attenuating Notch signaling also inhibited the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B pathways and suppressed cadherin expression. These results suggest that Notch signaling is endowed with an indispensable role in primordial follicle formation in post-hatch chicks.