Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 1255–1261 | Cite as

Plasticity of granulosa cells: on the crossroad of stemness and transdifferentiation potential

  • Edo Dzafic
  • Martin Stimpfel
  • Irma Virant-Klun


The ovarian follicle represents the basic functional unit of the ovary and consists of an oocyte, which is surrounded by granulosa cells (GCs). GCs play an important role in the growth and development of the follicle. They are subject to increased attention since it has recently been shown that the subpopulation of GCs within the growing follicle possesses exceptionally plasticity showing stem cell characteristics. In assisted reproduction programs, oocytes are retrieved from patients together with GCs, which are currently discarded daily, but could be an interesting subject to be researched and potentially used in regenerative medicine in the future. Isolated GCs expressed stem cell markers such as OCT-4, NANOG and SOX-2, showed high telomerase activity, and were in vitro differentiated into other cell types, otherwise not present within ovarian follicles. Recently another phenomenon demonstrated in GCs is transdifferentiation, which could explain many ovarian pathological conditions. Possible applications in regenerative medicine are also given.


Granulosa cells Stem cells Ovary Transdifferentiation Follicular fluid 


Conflict of interest

The authors indicate no potential conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyUniversity Medical Centre LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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