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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

FSH in vitro versus LH in vivo: similar genomic effects on the cumulus

Mourad Assidi12, François J Richard1 and Marc-André Sirard1*

Author Affiliations

1 Département des Sciences Animales, Faculté de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1K 7P4, Canada

2 Center of Excellence in Genomic Medicine Research, King AbdulAziz University, Jeddah 21589, KSA

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Journal of Ovarian Research 2013, 6:68  doi:10.1186/1757-2215-6-68

Published: 25 September 2013


The use of gonadotropins to trigger oocyte maturation both in vivo and in vitro has provided precious and powerful knowledge that has significantly increased our understanding of the ovarian function. Moreover, the efficacy of most assisted reproductive technologies (ART) used in both humans and livestock species relies on gonadotropin input, mainly FSH and LH. Despite the significant progress achieved and the huge impact of gonadotropins, the exact molecular pathways of the two pituitary hormones, FSH and LH, still remain poorly understood. Moreover, these pathways may not be the same when moving from the in vivo to the in vitro context. This misunderstanding of the intricate synergy between these two hormones leads to a lack of consensus about their use mainly in vitro or in ovulation induction schedules in vivo. In order to optimize their use, additional work is thus required with a special focus on comparing the in vitro versus the in vivo effects. In this context, this overview will briefly summarize the downstream gene expression pathways induced by both FSH in vitro and LH in vivo in the cumulus compartment. Based on recent microarray comparative analysis, we are reporting that in vitro FSH stimulation on cumulus cells appears to achieve at least part of the gene expression activity after in vivo LH stimulation. We are then proposing that the in vitro FSH-response of cumulus cells have similitudes with the in vivo LH-response.

Transcriptomic overlap; Genomic substitution; Gonadotropin molecular signalling