Mammalian oocytes secrete transforming growth factor (TGF-) superfamily proteins, such as growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9), bone morphogenetic protein 6 (BMP6) and BMP15, and fibroblast growth factors (FGFs). These oocyte-derived paracrine factors (ODPFs) play essential roles in regulating the differentiation and function of somatic granulosa cells as well as the development of ovarian follicles. In addition to the importance of individual ODPFs, emerging evidence suggests that the interaction of ODPF signals with other intra-follicular signals, such as estrogen, is critical for folliculogenesis. In this review, we will discuss the current understanding of the role of ODPFs in follicular development with an emphasis on their interaction with estrogen signaling in regulation of the differentiation and function of granulosa cells.
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