The ovary’s primary responsibility is the development of oocytes, or eggs, for fertilization and the propagation of the species. This development occurs in the ovarian follicle, which is the functional unit of the ovary containing the oocyte and supporting somatic cells called granulosa and theca cells. Follicles begin as immature primordial follicles and undergo several developmental transitions to become mature preovulatory follicles. This process is known as folliculogenesis and is controlled by the cells within the follicle as well as the endocrine system. This article outlines the different stages of folliculogenesis and the factors that control these transitions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Reproduction
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9780128151457
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Antral follicle
  • Cyclic recruitment
  • Follicle
  • Follicle development
  • Follicle growth
  • Granulosa cell
  • Initial recruitment
  • Ovary
  • Ovulation
  • Preantral follicle
  • Primary follicle
  • Primordial follicle
  • Steroidogenesis
  • Theca cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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