Retinoic acid signaling in ovarian folliculogenesis and steroidogenesis

P. Damdimopoulou, C. Chiang, J. A. Flaws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Retinoids are essential for reproduction. Most research has focused on the role of retinoic acid signaling in the regulation of meiosis during early fetal germ cell development. However, less attention has been paid to the possible effects of retinoic acid signaling in adult female gonads. Retinoic acid, its receptors, and the key enzymes required for retinoic acid synthesis are expressed in the ovaries and they are involved in the regulation of folliculogenesis and steroidogenesis. Exposure to compounds that can interfere with normal retinoic acid signaling is associated with adverse ovarian outcomes, including altered steroidogenesis and reduction in indicators of ovarian reserve in women and laboratory animal models. These observations call for more attention to retinoids as regulators of adult ovarian physiology and as possible targets of endocrine disruption by environmental chemicals. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of retinoids in folliculogenesis and steroidogenesis in post-pubertal mammalian ovaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-41
Number of pages10
JournalReproductive Toxicology
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Environmental chemicals
  • Folliculogenesis
  • Ovary
  • Retinoic acid
  • Steroidogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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