In the mammalian ovary, the development of follicles is a complex process that begins with the formation of primordial follicles and culminates either in a normal atretic degradation process or in the release of an oocyte for fertilization. Female reproduction depends, in part, on successful development of follicles. However, large numbers of toxicants target the follicles compromising female reproduction. This chapter describes the processes occurring and factors controlling primordial follicle formation, activation, growth, and development to the ovulatory stage. Further, this chapter provides information about deleterious effects and mechanisms that some environmental chemicals use to damage the follicle and thereby impair ovarian function. Although many mechanisms of ovotoxicity have been elucidated, knowledge of factors that control follicle development may allow the design of studies that evaluate new potential endpoints of toxicity. This may help to develop new strategies of prevention or treatment of toxicant-induced ovotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReproductive and Endocrine Toxicology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780080468686
StatePublished - Aug 12 2010


  • Antral follicle
  • Atresia
  • Bisphenol A
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Germ cells
  • Granulosa cells
  • Metals
  • Oocyte
  • Oogonia
  • Ovary
  • Ovulation
  • Pesticides
  • Phthalates
  • Plasticizers
  • Preantral follicle
  • Primary follicle
  • Primordial follicle
  • Theca cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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