Flow cytometric analysis of FSHR, BMRR1B, LHR and apoptosis in granulosa cells and ovulation rate in merino sheep

Sheena L.P. Regan, James R. McFarlane, Tim O'Shea, Nicholas Andronicos, Frank Arfuso, Arun Dharmarajan, Ghanim Almahbobi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present studywas to determine the direct cause of the mutation-induced, increased ovulation rate in Booroola Merino (BB) sheep. Granulosa cells were removed from antral follicles before ovulation and post-ovulation from BB (nZ5) and WT (nZ12) Merino ewes. Direct immunofluorescence measurement of mature cell surface receptors using flow cytometry demonstrated a significant up-regulation of FSH receptor (FSHR), transforming growth factor beta type 1, bone morphogenetic protein receptor (BMPR1B), and LH receptor (LHR) in BB sheep. The increased density of FSHR and LHR provide novel evidence of a mechanism for increasing the number of follicles that are recruited during dominant follicle selection. The compounding increase in receptors with increasing follicle size maintained the multiple follicles and reduced the apoptosis, which contributed to a high ovulation rate in BB sheep. In addition, we report a mutation-independent mechanism of down-regulation to reduce receptor density of the leading dominant follicle in sheep. The suppression of receptor density coincides with the cessation of mitogenic growth and steroidogenic differentiation as part of the luteinization of the follicle. The BB mutation-induced attenuation of BMPR1B signaling led to an increased density of the FSHR and LHR and a concurrent reduction in apoptosis to increase the ovulation rate. The role of BMPs in receptor modulation is implicated in the development of multiple ovulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

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