Ovarian Follicle: An OOCYTE-containing structure in the cortex of the OVARY. The oocyte is enclosed by a layer of GRANULOSA CELLS providing a nourishing microenvironment (FOLLICULAR FLUID). The number and size of follicles vary depending on the age and reproductive state of the female. The growing follicles are divided into five stages: primary, secondary, tertiary, Graafian, and atretic. Follicular growth and steroidogenesis depend on the presence of GONADOTROPINS.Follicle Stimulating Hormone: A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates GAMETOGENESIS and the supporting cells such as the ovarian GRANULOSA CELLS, the testicular SERTOLI CELLS, and LEYDIG CELLS. FSH consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Hair Follicle: A tube-like invagination of the EPIDERMIS from which the hair shaft develops and into which SEBACEOUS GLANDS open. The hair follicle is lined by a cellular inner and outer root sheath of epidermal origin and is invested with a fibrous sheath derived from the dermis. (Stedman, 26th ed) Follicles of very long hairs extend into the subcutaneous layer of tissue under the SKIN.Granulosa Cells: Supporting cells for the developing female gamete in the OVARY. They are derived from the coelomic epithelial cells of the gonadal ridge. Granulosa cells form a single layer around the OOCYTE in the primordial ovarian follicle and advance to form a multilayered cumulus oophorus surrounding the OVUM in the Graafian follicle. The major functions of granulosa cells include the production of steroids and LH receptors (RECEPTORS, LH).Ovary: The reproductive organ (GONADS) in female animals. In vertebrates, the ovary contains two functional parts: the OVARIAN FOLLICLE for the production of female germ cells (OOGENESIS); and the endocrine cells (GRANULOSA CELLS; THECA CELLS; and LUTEAL CELLS) for the production of ESTROGENS and PROGESTERONE.Ovulation: The discharge of an OVUM from a rupturing follicle in the OVARY.Theca Cells: The flattened stroma cells forming a sheath or theca outside the basal lamina lining the mature OVARIAN FOLLICLE. Thecal interstitial or stromal cells are steroidogenic, and produce primarily ANDROGENS which serve as precusors of ESTROGENS in the GRANULOSA CELLS.Follicular Fluid: The fluid surrounding the OVUM and GRANULOSA CELLS in the Graafian follicle (OVARIAN FOLLICLE). The follicular fluid contains sex steroids, glycoprotein hormones, plasma proteins, mucopolysaccharides, and enzymes.Follicular Atresia: The degeneration and resorption of an OVARIAN FOLLICLE before it reaches maturity and ruptures.Progesterone: The major progestational steroid that is secreted primarily by the CORPUS LUTEUM and the PLACENTA. Progesterone acts on the UTERUS, the MAMMARY GLANDS and the BRAIN. It is required in EMBRYO IMPLANTATION; PREGNANCY maintenance, and the development of mammary tissue for MILK production. Progesterone, converted from PREGNENOLONE, also serves as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of GONADAL STEROID HORMONES and adrenal CORTICOSTEROIDS.Estradiol: The 17-beta-isomer of estradiol, an aromatized C18 steroid with hydroxyl group at 3-beta- and 17-beta-position. Estradiol-17-beta is the most potent form of mammalian estrogenic steroids.Oocytes: Female germ cells derived from OOGONIA and termed OOCYTES when they enter MEIOSIS. The primary oocytes begin meiosis but are arrested at the diplotene state until OVULATION at PUBERTY to give rise to haploid secondary oocytes or ova (OVUM).Oogenesis: The process of germ cell development in the female from the primordial germ cells through OOGONIA to the mature haploid ova (OVUM).Luteinizing Hormone: A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Luteinizing hormone regulates steroid production by the interstitial cells of the TESTIS and the OVARY. The preovulatory LUTEINIZING HORMONE surge in females induces OVULATION, and subsequent LUTEINIZATION of the follicle. LUTEINIZING HORMONE consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Gonadotropins, Equine: Gonadotropins secreted by the pituitary or the placenta in horses. This term generally refers to the gonadotropins found in the pregnant mare serum, a rich source of equine CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN; LUTEINIZING HORMONE; and FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE. Unlike that in humans, the equine LUTEINIZING HORMONE, BETA SUBUNIT is identical to the equine choronic gonadotropin, beta. Equine gonadotropins prepared from pregnant mare serum are used in reproductive studies.Vitellogenesis: The active production and accumulation of VITELLINS (egg yolk proteins) in the non-mammalian OOCYTES from circulating precursors, VITELLOGENINS. Vitellogenesis usually begins after the first MEIOSIS and is regulated by estrogenic hormones.Chorionic Gonadotropin: A gonadotropic glycoprotein hormone produced primarily by the PLACENTA. Similar to the pituitary LUTEINIZING HORMONE in structure and function, chorionic gonadotropin is involved in maintaining the CORPUS LUTEUM during pregnancy. CG consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is virtually identical to the alpha subunits of the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity (CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN, BETA SUBUNIT, HUMAN).Inhibins: Glycoproteins that inhibit pituitary FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE secretion. Inhibins are secreted by the Sertoli cells of the testes, the granulosa cells of the ovarian follicles, the placenta, and other tissues. Inhibins and ACTIVINS are modulators of FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE secretions; both groups belong to the TGF-beta superfamily, as the TRANSFORMING GROWTH FACTOR BETA. Inhibins consist of a disulfide-linked heterodimer with a unique alpha linked to either a beta A or a beta B subunit to form inhibin A or inhibin B, respectivelyGonadotropins: Hormones that stimulate gonadal functions such as GAMETOGENESIS and sex steroid hormone production in the OVARY and the TESTIS. Major gonadotropins are glycoproteins produced primarily by the adenohypophysis (GONADOTROPINS, PITUITARY) and the placenta (CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN). In some species, pituitary PROLACTIN and PLACENTAL LACTOGEN exert some luteotropic activities.Androstenedione: A delta-4 C19 steroid that is produced not only in the TESTIS, but also in the OVARY and the ADRENAL CORTEX. Depending on the tissue type, androstenedione can serve as a precursor to TESTOSTERONE as well as ESTRONE and ESTRADIOL.Luteinization: Formation of CORPUS LUTEUM. This process includes capillary invasion of the ruptured OVARIAN FOLLICLE, hypertrophy of the GRANULOSA CELLS and the THECA CELLS, and the production of PROGESTERONE. Luteinization is regulated by LUTEINIZING HORMONE.Cattle: Domesticated bovine animals of the genus Bos, usually kept on a farm or ranch and used for the production of meat or dairy products or for heavy labor.Receptors, FSH: Cell surface proteins that bind FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE with high affinity and trigger intracellular changes influencing the behavior of cells.Estrus: The period in the ESTROUS CYCLE associated with maximum sexual receptivity and fertility in non-primate female mammals.Tissue Culture Techniques: A technique for maintaining or growing TISSUE in vitro, usually by DIFFUSION, perifusion, or PERFUSION. The tissue is cultured directly after removal from the host without being dispersed for cell culture.Aromatase: An enzyme that catalyzes the desaturation (aromatization) of the ring A of C19 androgens and converts them to C18 estrogens. In this process, the 19-methyl is removed. This enzyme is membrane-bound, located in the endoplasmic reticulum of estrogen-producing cells of ovaries, placenta, testes, adipose, and brain tissues. Aromatase is encoded by the CYP19 gene, and functions in complex with NADPH-FERRIHEMOPROTEIN REDUCTASE in the cytochrome P-450 system.Anti-Mullerian Hormone: A glycoprotein that causes regression of MULLERIAN DUCTS. It is produced by SERTOLI CELLS of the TESTES. In the absence of this hormone, the Mullerian ducts develop into structures of the female reproductive tract. In males, defects of this hormone result in persistent Mullerian duct, a form of MALE PSEUDOHERMAPHRODITISM.Corpus Luteum: The yellow body derived from the ruptured OVARIAN FOLLICLE after OVULATION. The process of corpus luteum formation, LUTEINIZATION, is regulated by LUTEINIZING HORMONE.Follicular Phase: The period of the MENSTRUAL CYCLE representing follicular growth, increase in ovarian estrogen (ESTROGENS) production, and epithelial proliferation of the ENDOMETRIUM. Follicular phase begins with the onset of MENSTRUATION and ends with OVULATION.Ovarian Cysts: General term for CYSTS and cystic diseases of the OVARY.Receptors, LH: Those protein complexes or molecular sites on the surfaces and cytoplasm of gonadal cells that bind luteinizing or chorionic gonadotropic hormones and thereby cause the gonadal cells to synthesize and secrete sex steroids. The hormone-receptor complex is internalized from the plasma membrane and initiates steroid synthesis.Cyclohexenes: Six-carbon alicyclic hydrocarbons which contain one or more double bonds in the ring. The cyclohexadienes are not aromatic, in contrast to BENZOQUINONES which are sometimes called 2,5-cyclohexadiene-1,4-diones.Estrous Cycle: The period of cyclic physiological and behavior changes in non-primate female mammals that exhibit ESTRUS. The estrous cycle generally consists of 4 or 5 distinct periods corresponding to the endocrine status (PROESTRUS; ESTRUS; METESTRUS; DIESTRUS; and ANESTRUS).Fertility: The capacity to conceive or to induce conception. It may refer to either the male or female.Ovulation Induction: Techniques for the artifical induction of ovulation, the rupture of the follicle and release of the ovum.Growth Differentiation Factor 9: A bone morphogenetic protein that plays an essential role in the regulation of ovarian folliculogenesis.Gonadotropins, Pituitary: Hormones secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR) that stimulate gonadal functions in both males and females. They include FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE that stimulates germ cell maturation (OOGENESIS; SPERMATOGENESIS), and LUTEINIZING HORMONE that stimulates the production of sex steroids (ESTROGENS; PROGESTERONE; ANDROGENS).Vinyl CompoundsPrimary Ovarian Insufficiency: Cessation of ovarian function after MENARCHE but before the age of 40, without or with OVARIAN FOLLICLE depletion. It is characterized by the presence of OLIGOMENORRHEA or AMENORRHEA, elevated GONADOTROPINS, and low ESTRADIOL levels. It is a state of female HYPERGONADOTROPIC HYPOGONADISM. Etiologies include genetic defects, autoimmune processes, chemotherapy, radiation, and infections.Infertility, Female: Diminished or absent ability of a female to achieve conception.Inhibin-beta Subunits: They are glycopeptides and subunits in INHIBINS and ACTIVINS. Inhibins and activins belong to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily.Sheep: Any of the ruminant mammals with curved horns in the genus Ovis, family Bovidae. They possess lachrymal grooves and interdigital glands, which are absent in GOATS.Sexual Maturation: Achievement of full sexual capacity in animals and in humans.Cholesterol Side-Chain Cleavage Enzyme: A mitochondrial cytochrome P450 enzyme that catalyzes the side-chain cleavage of C27 cholesterol to C21 pregnenolone in the presence of molecular oxygen and NADPH-FERRIHEMOPROTEIN REDUCTASE. This enzyme, encoded by CYP11A1 gene, catalyzes the breakage between C20 and C22 which is the initial and rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of various gonadal and adrenal steroid hormones.Hair: A filament-like structure consisting of a shaft which projects to the surface of the SKIN from a root which is softer than the shaft and lodges in the cavity of a HAIR FOLLICLE. It is found on most surfaces of the body.Testicular Hormones: Hormones produced in the testis.Anovulation: Suspension or cessation of OVULATION in animals or humans with follicle-containing ovaries (OVARIAN FOLLICLE). Depending on the etiology, OVULATION may be induced with appropriate therapy.RNA, Messenger: RNA sequences that serve as templates for protein synthesis. Bacterial mRNAs are generally primary transcripts in that they do not require post-transcriptional processing. Eukaryotic mRNA is synthesized in the nucleus and must be exported to the cytoplasm for translation. Most eukaryotic mRNAs have a sequence of polyadenylic acid at the 3' end, referred to as the poly(A) tail. The function of this tail is not known for certain, but it may play a role in the export of mature mRNA from the nucleus as well as in helping stabilize some mRNA molecules by retarding their degradation in the cytoplasm.Bone Morphogenetic Protein 15: A protein that plays a role in GRANULOSA CELLS where it regulates folliculogenesis. Mutations in the gene for bone morphogenetic protein 15 are linked to reproductive abnormalities such as PREMATURE OVARIAN FAILURE.Fertilization in Vitro: An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro.Receptors, Gonadotropin: Those protein complexes or molecular sites on the surfaces of gonadal and other sensitive cells that bind gonadotropins and thereby modify the functions of those cells; hCG, LH, and FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE are the major specific gonadotropins.Pregnancy: The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (EMBRYOS or FETUSES) in utero before birth, beginning from FERTILIZATION to BIRTH.Oogonia: Euploid female germ cells of an early stage of OOGENESIS, derived from primordial germ cells during ovarian differentiation. Oogonia undergo MEIOSIS and give rise to haploid OOCYTESCulture Techniques: Methods of maintaining or growing biological materials in controlled laboratory conditions. These include the cultures of CELLS; TISSUES; organs; or embryo in vitro. Both animal and plant tissues may be cultured by a variety of methods. Cultures may derive from normal or abnormal tissues, and consist of a single cell type or mixed cell types.Swine: Any of various animals that constitute the family Suidae and comprise stout-bodied, short-legged omnivorous mammals with thick skin, usually covered with coarse bristles, a rather long mobile snout, and small tail. Included are the genera Babyrousa, Phacochoerus (wart hogs), and Sus, the latter containing the domestic pig (see SUS SCROFA).Testosterone: A potent androgenic steroid and major product secreted by the LEYDIG CELLS of the TESTIS. Its production is stimulated by LUTEINIZING HORMONE from the PITUITARY GLAND. In turn, testosterone exerts feedback control of the pituitary LH and FSH secretion. Depending on the tissues, testosterone can be further converted to DIHYDROTESTOSTERONE or ESTRADIOL.Ovum: A mature haploid female germ cell extruded from the OVARY at OVULATION.Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone: A decapeptide that stimulates the synthesis and secretion of both pituitary gonadotropins, LUTEINIZING HORMONE and FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE. GnRH is produced by neurons in the septum PREOPTIC AREA of the HYPOTHALAMUS and released into the pituitary portal blood, leading to stimulation of GONADOTROPHS in the ANTERIOR PITUITARY GLAND.Ovarian Diseases: Pathological processes of the OVARY.Oviposition: The process of laying or shedding fully developed eggs (OVA) from the female body. The term is usually used for certain INSECTS or FISHES with an organ called ovipositor where eggs are stored or deposited before expulsion from the body.Egg Proteins: Proteins which are found in eggs (OVA) from any species.Organ Culture Techniques: A technique for maintenance or growth of animal organs in vitro. It refers to three-dimensional cultures of undisaggregated tissue retaining some or all of the histological features of the tissue in vivo. (Freshney, Culture of Animal Cells, 3d ed, p1)Immunohistochemistry: Histochemical localization of immunoreactive substances using labeled antibodies as reagents.Hexuronic Acids: Term used to designate tetrahydroxy aldehydic acids obtained by oxidation of hexose sugars, i.e. glucuronic acid, galacturonic acid, etc. Historically, the name hexuronic acid was originally given to ascorbic acid.Steroids: A group of polycyclic compounds closely related biochemically to TERPENES. They include cholesterol, numerous hormones, precursors of certain vitamins, bile acids, alcohols (STEROLS), and certain natural drugs and poisons. Steroids have a common nucleus, a fused, reduced 17-carbon atom ring system, cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. Most steroids also have two methyl groups and an aliphatic side-chain attached to the nucleus. (From Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 11th ed)Glucuronic Acid: A sugar acid formed by the oxidation of the C-6 carbon of GLUCOSE. In addition to being a key intermediate metabolite of the uronic acid pathway, glucuronic acid also plays a role in the detoxification of certain drugs and toxins by conjugating with them to form GLUCURONIDES.Gonadal Steroid Hormones: Steroid hormones produced by the GONADS. They stimulate reproductive organs, germ cell maturation, and the secondary sex characteristics in the males and the females. The major sex steroid hormones include ESTRADIOL; PROGESTERONE; and TESTOSTERONE.Hydroxyprogesterones: Metabolites or derivatives of PROGESTERONE with hydroxyl group substitution at various sites.Buserelin: A potent synthetic analog of GONADOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE with D-serine substitution at residue 6, glycine10 deletion, and other modifications.Cumulus Cells: The granulosa cells of the cumulus oophorus which surround the OVUM in the GRAAFIAN FOLLICLE. At OVULATION they are extruded with OVUM.Chickens: Common name for the species Gallus gallus, the domestic fowl, in the family Phasianidae, order GALLIFORMES. It is descended from the red jungle fowl of SOUTHEAST ASIA.Alginates: Salts of alginic acid that are extracted from marine kelp and used to make dental impressions and as absorbent material for surgical dressings.Superovulation: Occurrence or induction of release of more ova than are normally released at the same time in a given species. The term applies to both animals and humans.Follistatin: A broadly distributed protein that binds directly to ACTIVINS. It functions as an activin antagonist, inhibits FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE secretion, regulates CELL DIFFERENTIATION, and plays an important role in embryogenesis. Follistatin is a single glycosylated polypeptide chain of approximately 37-kDa and is not a member of the inhibin family (INHIBINS). Follistatin also binds and neutralizes many members of the TRANSFORMING GROWTH FACTOR BETA family.Activins: Activins are produced in the pituitary, gonads, and other tissues. By acting locally, they stimulate pituitary FSH secretion and have diverse effects on cell differentiation and embryonic development. Activins are glycoproteins that are hetero- or homodimers of INHIBIN-BETA SUBUNITS.In Situ Hybridization: A technique that localizes specific nucleic acid sequences within intact chromosomes, eukaryotic cells, or bacterial cells through the use of specific nucleic acid-labeled probes.Meiosis: A type of CELL NUCLEUS division, occurring during maturation of the GERM CELLS. Two successive cell nucleus divisions following a single chromosome duplication (S PHASE) result in daughter cells with half the number of CHROMOSOMES as the parent cells.Dinoprost: A naturally occurring prostaglandin that has oxytocic, luteolytic, and abortifacient activities. Due to its vasocontractile properties, the compound has a variety of other biological actions.Proestrus: A phase of the ESTROUS CYCLE that precedes ESTRUS. During proestrus, the Graafian follicles undergo maturation.Cells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.Luteolysis: Degradation of CORPUS LUTEUM. In the absence of pregnancy and diminishing trophic hormones, the corpus luteum undergoes luteolysis which is characterized by the involution and cessation of its endocrine function.Estrus Synchronization: Occurrence or induction of ESTRUS in all of the females in a group at the same time, applies only to non-primate mammals with ESTROUS CYCLE.Luteal Phase: The period in the MENSTRUAL CYCLE that follows OVULATION, characterized by the development of CORPUS LUTEUM, increase in PROGESTERONE production by the OVARY and secretion by the glandular epithelium of the ENDOMETRIUM. The luteal phase begins with ovulation and ends with the onset of MENSTRUATION.Ovariectomy: The surgical removal of one or both ovaries.Diestrus: A phase of the ESTROUS CYCLES that follows METESTRUS. Diestrus is a period of sexual quiescence separating phases of ESTRUS in polyestrous animals.Radioimmunoassay: Classic quantitative assay for detection of antigen-antibody reactions using a radioactively labeled substance (radioligand) either directly or indirectly to measure the binding of the unlabeled substance to a specific antibody or other receptor system. Non-immunogenic substances (e.g., haptens) can be measured if coupled to larger carrier proteins (e.g., bovine gamma-globulin or human serum albumin) capable of inducing antibody formation.Hypophysectomy: Surgical removal or destruction of the hypophysis, or pituitary gland. (Dorland, 28th ed)Cryopreservation: Preservation of cells, tissues, organs, or embryos by freezing. In histological preparations, cryopreservation or cryofixation is used to maintain the existing form, structure, and chemical composition of all the constituent elements of the specimens.Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Human: A major gonadotropin secreted by the human adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates GAMETOGENESIS and the supporting cells such as the ovarian GRANULOSA CELLS, the testicular SERTOLI CELLS, and the LEYDIG CELLS. FSH consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. The alpha subunit is common in the three human pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Insulin-Like Growth Factor I: A well-characterized basic peptide believed to be secreted by the liver and to circulate in the blood. It has growth-regulating, insulin-like, and mitogenic activities. This growth factor has a major, but not absolute, dependence on GROWTH HORMONE. It is believed to be mainly active in adults in contrast to INSULIN-LIKE GROWTH FACTOR II, which is a major fetal growth factor.Tissue Survival: The span of viability of a tissue or an organ.Egg Shell: A hard or leathery calciferous exterior covering of an egg.Postpartum Period: In females, the period that is shortly after giving birth (PARTURITION).Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction: A variation of the PCR technique in which cDNA is made from RNA via reverse transcription. The resultant cDNA is then amplified using standard PCR protocols.Cortisone Reductase: An enzyme that catalyzes the interconversion of a ketone and hydroxy group at C-20 of cortisone and other 17,20,21-trihydroxy steroids. EC 1.1.1.53.Time Factors: Elements of limited time intervals, contributing to particular results or situations.Gene Expression: The phenotypic manifestation of a gene or genes by the processes of GENETIC TRANSCRIPTION and GENETIC TRANSLATION.Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control of gene action during the developmental stages of an organism.Anestrus: A state of sexual inactivity in female animals exhibiting no ESTROUS CYCLE. Causes of anestrus include pregnancy, presence of offspring, season, stress, and pathology.Mice, Inbred CBAOocyte Retrieval: Procedures to obtain viable OOCYTES from the host. Oocytes most often are collected by needle aspiration from OVARIAN FOLLICLES before OVULATION.3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases: Catalyze the oxidation of 3-hydroxysteroids to 3-ketosteroids.Mice, Inbred C57BLAlopecia: Absence of hair from areas where it is normally present.Steroid 17-alpha-Hydroxylase: A microsomal cytochrome P450 enzyme that catalyzes the 17-alpha-hydroxylation of progesterone or pregnenolone and subsequent cleavage of the residual two carbons at C17 in the presence of molecular oxygen and NADPH-FERRIHEMOPROTEIN REDUCTASE. This enzyme, encoded by CYP17 gene, generates precursors for glucocorticoid, androgen, and estrogen synthesis. Defects in CYP17 gene cause congenital adrenal hyperplasia (ADRENAL HYPERPLASIA, CONGENITAL) and abnormal sexual differentiation.Hormones: Chemical substances having a specific regulatory effect on the activity of a certain organ or organs. The term was originally applied to substances secreted by various ENDOCRINE GLANDS and transported in the bloodstream to the target organs. It is sometimes extended to include those substances that are not produced by the endocrine glands but that have similar effects.Menstrual Cycle: The period from onset of one menstrual bleeding (MENSTRUATION) to the next in an ovulating woman or female primate. The menstrual cycle is regulated by endocrine interactions of the HYPOTHALAMUS; the PITUITARY GLAND; the ovaries; and the genital tract. The menstrual cycle is divided by OVULATION into two phases. Based on the endocrine status of the OVARY, there is a FOLLICULAR PHASE and a LUTEAL PHASE. Based on the response in the ENDOMETRIUM, the menstrual cycle is divided into a proliferative and a secretory phase.Progestins: Compounds that interact with PROGESTERONE RECEPTORS in target tissues to bring about the effects similar to those of PROGESTERONE. Primary actions of progestins, including natural and synthetic steroids, are on the UTERUS and the MAMMARY GLAND in preparation for and in maintenance of PREGNANCY.Cell Count: The number of CELLS of a specific kind, usually measured per unit volume or area of sample.Horses: Large, hoofed mammals of the family EQUIDAE. Horses are active day and night with most of the day spent seeking and consuming food. Feeding peaks occur in the early morning and late afternoon, and there are several daily periods of rest.Uterus: The hollow thick-walled muscular organ in the female PELVIS. It consists of the fundus (the body) which is the site of EMBRYO IMPLANTATION and FETAL DEVELOPMENT. Beyond the isthmus at the perineal end of fundus, is CERVIX UTERI (the neck) opening into VAGINA. Beyond the isthmi at the upper abdominal end of fundus, are the FALLOPIAN TUBES.Tissue Embedding: The technique of placing cells or tissue in a supporting medium so that thin sections can be cut using a microtome. The medium can be paraffin wax (PARAFFIN EMBEDDING) or plastics (PLASTIC EMBEDDING) such as epoxy resins.Dental Sac: Dense fibrous layer formed from mesodermal tissue that surrounds the epithelial enamel organ. The cells eventually migrate to the external surface of the newly formed root dentin and give rise to the cementoblasts that deposit cementum on the developing root, fibroblasts of the developing periodontal ligament, and osteoblasts of the developing alveolar bone.Signal Transduction: The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activation is part of the platelet activation signal pathway.Vitelline Membrane: The plasma membrane of the egg.Apoptosis: One of the mechanisms by which CELL DEATH occurs (compare with NECROSIS and AUTOPHAGOCYTOSIS). Apoptosis is the mechanism responsible for the physiological deletion of cells and appears to be intrinsically programmed. It is characterized by distinctive morphologic changes in the nucleus and cytoplasm, chromatin cleavage at regularly spaced sites, and the endonucleolytic cleavage of genomic DNA; (DNA FRAGMENTATION); at internucleosomal sites. This mode of cell death serves as a balance to mitosis in regulating the size of animal tissues and in mediating pathologic processes associated with tumor growth.Drosophila: A genus of small, two-winged flies containing approximately 900 described species. These organisms are the most extensively studied of all genera from the standpoint of genetics and cytology.Reproduction: The total process by which organisms produce offspring. (Stedman, 25th ed)Pituitary Gland: A small, unpaired gland situated in the SELLA TURCICA. It is connected to the HYPOTHALAMUS by a short stalk which is called the INFUNDIBULUM.Leuprolide: A potent synthetic long-acting agonist of GONADOTROPIN-RELEASING HORMONE that regulates the synthesis and release of pituitary gonadotropins, LUTEINIZING HORMONE and FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE.Drosophila Proteins: Proteins that originate from insect species belonging to the genus DROSOPHILA. The proteins from the most intensely studied species of Drosophila, DROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER, are the subject of much interest in the area of MORPHOGENESIS and development.Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 4: One of the six homologous soluble proteins that bind insulin-like growth factors (SOMATOMEDINS) and modulate their mitogenic and metabolic actions at the cellular level.Hormone Antagonists: Chemical substances which inhibit the function of the endocrine glands, the biosynthesis of their secreted hormones, or the action of hormones upon their specific sites.Aging: The gradual irreversible changes in structure and function of an organism that occur as a result of the passage of time.Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins: A family of soluble proteins that bind insulin-like growth factors and modulate their biological actions at the cellular level. (Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1992;39(1):3-9)Gene Expression Regulation: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control (induction or repression) of gene action at the level of transcription or translation.Cell Differentiation: Progressive restriction of the developmental potential and increasing specialization of function that leads to the formation of specialized cells, tissues, and organs.Oophoritis: Inflammation of the OVARY, generally caused by an ascending infection of organisms from the endocervix.Prostaglandins F: (9 alpha,11 alpha,13E,15S)-9,11,15-Trihydroxyprost-13-en-1-oic acid (PGF(1 alpha)); (5Z,9 alpha,11,alpha,13E,15S)-9,11,15-trihydroxyprosta-5,13-dien-1-oic acid (PGF(2 alpha)); (5Z,9 alpha,11 alpha,13E,15S,17Z)-9,11,15-trihydroxyprosta-5,13,17-trien-1-oic acid (PGF(3 alpha)). A family of prostaglandins that includes three of the six naturally occurring prostaglandins. All naturally occurring PGF have an alpha configuration at the 9-carbon position. They stimulate uterine and bronchial smooth muscle and are often used as oxytocics.Insemination, Artificial: Artificial introduction of SEMEN or SPERMATOZOA into the VAGINA to facilitate FERTILIZATION.Organ Size: The measurement of an organ in volume, mass, or heaviness.Oncorhynchus kisutch: An anadromous species of SALMON ranging from the Arctic and Pacific Oceans to Monterey Bay, California and inhabiting ocean and coastal streams. It is familiarly known as the coho or silver salmon. It is relatively small but its light-colored flesh is of good flavor.Cortodoxone: 17,21-Dihydroxypregn-4-ene-3,20-dione. A 17-hydroxycorticosteroid with glucocorticoid and anti-inflammatory activities.Sea Bream: A species of PERCIFORMES commonly used in saline aquaculture.Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 2: One of the six homologous soluble proteins that bind insulin-like growth factors (SOMATOMEDINS) and modulate their mitogenic and metabolic actions at the cellular level.17-alpha-Hydroxypregnenolone: A 21-carbon steroid that is converted from PREGNENOLONE by STEROID 17-ALPHA-HYDROXYLASE. It is an intermediate in the delta-5 pathway of biosynthesis of GONADAL STEROID HORMONES and the adrenal CORTICOSTEROIDS.Microscopy, Electron: Microscopy using an electron beam, instead of light, to visualize the sample, thereby allowing much greater magnification. The interactions of ELECTRONS with specimens are used to provide information about the fine structure of that specimen. In TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY the reactions of the electrons that are transmitted through the specimen are imaged. In SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY an electron beam falls at a non-normal angle on the specimen and the image is derived from the reactions occurring above the plane of the specimen.Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins: Regulatory proteins and peptides that are signaling molecules involved in the process of PARACRINE COMMUNICATION. They are generally considered factors that are expressed by one cell and are responded to by receptors on another nearby cell. They are distinguished from HORMONES in that their actions are local rather than distal.Litter Size: The number of offspring produced at one birth by a viviparous animal.Tissue and Organ Harvesting: The procedure of removing TISSUES, organs, or specimens from DONORS for reuse, such as TRANSPLANTATION.Sebaceous Glands: Small, sacculated organs found within the DERMIS. Each gland has a single duct that emerges from a cluster of oval alveoli. Each alveolus consists of a transparent BASEMENT MEMBRANE enclosing epithelial cells. The ducts from most sebaceous glands open into a HAIR FOLLICLE, but some open on the general surface of the SKIN. Sebaceous glands secrete SEBUM.Follicular Cyst: Cyst due to the occlusion of the duct of a follicle or small gland.Amino Acid Transport System L: A sodium-independent neutral amino acid transporter system with specificity for large amino acids. One of the functions of the transporter system is to supply large neutral amino acids to the brain.Paracrine Communication: Cellular signaling in which a factor secreted by a cell affects other cells in the local environment. This term is often used to denote the action of INTERCELLULAR SIGNALING PEPTIDES AND PROTEINS on surrounding cells.Epidermis: The external, nonvascular layer of the skin. It is made up, from within outward, of five layers of EPITHELIUM: (1) basal layer (stratum basale epidermidis); (2) spinous layer (stratum spinosum epidermidis); (3) granular layer (stratum granulosum epidermidis); (4) clear layer (stratum lucidum epidermidis); and (5) horny layer (stratum corneum epidermidis).Estrogens: Compounds that interact with ESTROGEN RECEPTORS in target tissues to bring about the effects similar to those of ESTRADIOL. Estrogens stimulate the female reproductive organs, and the development of secondary female SEX CHARACTERISTICS. Estrogenic chemicals include natural, synthetic, steroidal, or non-steroidal compounds.Androgens: Compounds that interact with ANDROGEN RECEPTORS in target tissues to bring about the effects similar to those of TESTOSTERONE. Depending on the target tissues, androgenic effects can be on SEX DIFFERENTIATION; male reproductive organs, SPERMATOGENESIS; secondary male SEX CHARACTERISTICS; LIBIDO; development of muscle mass, strength, and power.Stem Cell Factor: A hematopoietic growth factor and the ligand of the cell surface c-kit protein (PROTO-ONCOGENE PROTEINS C-KIT). It is expressed during embryogenesis and is a growth factor for a number of cell types including the MAST CELLS and the MELANOCYTES in addition to the HEMATOPOIETIC STEM CELLS.Cyclic AMP: An adenine nucleotide containing one phosphate group which is esterified to both the 3'- and 5'-positions of the sugar moiety. It is a second messenger and a key intracellular regulator, functioning as a mediator of activity for a number of hormones, including epinephrine, glucagon, and ACTH.Stimulation, Chemical: The increase in a measurable parameter of a PHYSIOLOGICAL PROCESS, including cellular, microbial, and plant; immunological, cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, urinary, digestive, neural, musculoskeletal, ocular, and skin physiological processes; or METABOLIC PROCESS, including enzymatic and other pharmacological processes, by a drug or other chemical.Drosophila melanogaster: A species of fruit fly much used in genetics because of the large size of its chromosomes.Animals, Newborn: Refers to animals in the period of time just after birth.Molecular Sequence Data: Descriptions of specific amino acid, carbohydrate, or nucleotide sequences which have appeared in the published literature and/or are deposited in and maintained by databanks such as GENBANK, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), or other sequence repositories.Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A complex disorder characterized by infertility, HIRSUTISM; OBESITY; and various menstrual disturbances such as OLIGOMENORRHEA; AMENORRHEA; ANOVULATION. Polycystic ovary syndrome is usually associated with bilateral enlarged ovaries studded with atretic follicles, not with cysts. The term, polycystic ovary, is misleading.Cell Size: The quantity of volume or surface area of CELLS.Zona Pellucida: A tough transparent membrane surrounding the OVUM. It is penetrated by the sperm during FERTILIZATION.In Situ Nick-End Labeling: An in situ method for detecting areas of DNA which are nicked during APOPTOSIS. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase is used to add labeled dUTP, in a template-independent manner, to the 3 prime OH ends of either single- or double-stranded DNA. The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase nick end labeling, or TUNEL, assay labels apoptosis on a single-cell level, making it more sensitive than agarose gel electrophoresis for analysis of DNA FRAGMENTATION.Scalp: The outer covering of the calvaria. It is composed of several layers: SKIN; subcutaneous connective tissue; the occipitofrontal muscle which includes the tendinous galea aponeurotica; loose connective tissue; and the pericranium (the PERIOSTEUM of the SKULL).Cattle Diseases: Diseases of domestic cattle of the genus Bos. It includes diseases of cows, yaks, and zebus.Blotting, Northern: Detection of RNA that has been electrophoretically separated and immobilized by blotting on nitrocellulose or other type of paper or nylon membrane followed by hybridization with labeled NUCLEIC ACID PROBES.Basement Membrane: A darkly stained mat-like EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM) that separates cell layers, such as EPITHELIUM from ENDOTHELIUM or a layer of CONNECTIVE TISSUE. The ECM layer that supports an overlying EPITHELIUM or ENDOTHELIUM is called basal lamina. Basement membrane (BM) can be formed by the fusion of either two adjacent basal laminae or a basal lamina with an adjacent reticular lamina of connective tissue. BM, composed mainly of TYPE IV COLLAGEN; glycoprotein LAMININ; and PROTEOGLYCAN, provides barriers as well as channels between interacting cell layers.Rats, Sprague-Dawley: A strain of albino rat used widely for experimental purposes because of its calmness and ease of handling. It was developed by the Sprague-Dawley Animal Company.Dose-Response Relationship, Drug: The relationship between the dose of an administered drug and the response of the organism to the drug.