The long term objective of the experiments in this project is to discover which aspects of differential FSH and LH release are regulated directly at the level of the anterior pituitary gland itself. Three in vitro setups will be used: (a) a dynamic perifusion apparatus using dispersed cells; (b) a dynamic perifusion apparatus using pituitary fragments; (c) a static, dispersed pituitary cell culture. These set-ups will permit contrast of dynamic vs static GnRH input-gonadotrope-output relations as well as contrast of dynamic control in the absence (dispersed) and presence (pituitary fragments)) of cell-cell connections. We will measure LH and FSH in the medium and in the pituitary gland, as well as pituitary GnRH receptor levels.
Specific Aim 1 is to examine FSH and LH secretory rates in response to variations in intensity, duration and/or frequency of GnRH input, frequently cited as accounting for differences in the secretion rates of the two gonadotropins. Donors will be intact males and intact females at each cycle stage.
Specific Aim 2 is to determine the effect of in vitro treatment with gonadal steroids and folliculostatin on FSH and LH secretion in basal and GnRH-stimulated pituitaries. The literature is contradictory on the site(s) of gonadal negative feedback; our models will enable us to probe for interactions between these feedback factors and a dynamic GnRH signal, at the level of the pituitary gland itself.
Specific Aim 3 is to determine the effect of in vivo increases or decreases in gonadal feedback in donor males and females on the secretory activity in vitro of their pituitaries.
Specific Aim 4 is to determine whether the anterior pituitary gland itself is an important site of interaction of glucorticoids on differential regulation of LH and FSH secretion rates. In vivo, castrated male rats pretreated with cortisol show a suppressed LH response to GnRH, but the FSH secretory response to GnRH is normal, and pituitary FSH stores are increased, suggesting that glucocorticoids could be an important probe in the search for the site of differential FSH regulation. This finding could not be replicated in a static, dispersed pituitary cell culture.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Northwestern University at Chicago
United States
Zip Code
Que, Emily L; Duncan, Francesca E; Bayer, Amanda R et al. (2017) Zinc sparks induce physiochemical changes in the egg zona pellucida that prevent polyspermy. Integr Biol (Camb) 9:135-144
Vanorny, Dallas A; Mayo, Kelly E (2017) The role of Notch signaling in the mammalian ovary. Reproduction 153:R187-R204
Xiao, Shuo; Duncan, Francesca E; Bai, Lu et al. (2015) Size-specific follicle selection improves mouse oocyte reproductive outcomes. Reproduction 150:183-92
Que, Emily L; Bleher, Reiner; Duncan, Francesca E et al. (2015) Quantitative mapping of zinc fluxes in the mammalian egg reveals the origin of fertilization-induced zinc sparks. Nat Chem 7:130-9
Xiao, Shuo; Zhang, Jiyang; Romero, Megan M et al. (2015) In vitro follicle growth supports human oocyte meiotic maturation. Sci Rep 5:17323
Cordeiro, Marília H; Kim, So-Youn; Ebbert, Katherine et al. (2015) Geography of follicle formation in the embryonic mouse ovary impacts activation pattern during the first wave of folliculogenesis. Biol Reprod 93:88
Kong, Betty Y; Duncan, Francesca E; Que, Emily L et al. (2015) The inorganic anatomy of the mammalian preimplantation embryo and the requirement of zinc during the first mitotic divisions. Dev Dyn 244:935-47
Kim, So-Youn; Ebbert, Katherine; Cordeiro, Marilia H et al. (2015) Cell autonomous phosphoinositide 3-kinase activation in oocytes disrupts normal ovarian function through promoting survival and overgrowth of ovarian follicles. Endocrinology 156:1464-76
Hong, Young Pyo; Gleber, Sophie-Charlotte; O'Halloran, Thomas V et al. (2014) Alignment of low-dose X-ray fluorescence tomography images using differential phase contrast. J Synchrotron Radiat 21:229-34
Kong, B Y; Duncan, F E; Que, E L et al. (2014) Maternally-derived zinc transporters ZIP6 and ZIP10 drive the mammalian oocyte-to-egg transition. Mol Hum Reprod 20:1077-89

Showing the most recent 10 out of 210 publications