Morphometric characteristics of preantral and antral follicles and expression of factors involved in folliculogenesis in ovaries of adult baboons (Papio anubis)

  • Christiani A. Amorim
  • Cristina Fortuño Moya
  • Jacques Donnez
  • Marie-Madeleine DolmansEmail author
Reproductive Physiology and Disease



Baboons are commonly utilized as an animal model for studies of human reproduction. However, folliculogenesis in this species has not been fully documented. The aim of this study was to assess follicle morphometry and expression of essential proteins involved in folliculogenesis in baboons.


Ovaries were recovered from four adult baboons and processed for histological evaluation and immunohistochemical analyses. Follicle proportion, follicle and oocyte diameter, theca layer thickness, number of granulosa cells, and follicle density were calculated. Immunohistochemical staining was also carried out for connexin 43 (Cx43), aromatase, and zona pellucida 3 (ZP3).


A total of 2221 follicles were counted and measured. Proportions of primordial, primary, secondary, small antral, and large antral follicles were 49, 26, 23, 1, and 1 %, respectively. The increase in follicle diameter was due not only to the increase in oocyte diameter but also to granulosa cell proliferation. Almost all antral follicles were positive for Cx43 (89.8 %), aromatase (84.8 %), and ZP3 (100 %). Most secondary follicles were positive for Cx43 (65 %) and ZP3 (64.5 %), and some primary follicles were positive only for Cx43. No primordial follicles stained positive in any of these immunohistochemical analyses. Only antral follicles showed aromatase activity.


On the basis of these results, we can conclude that folliculogenesis in baboons appears to be similar to that in humans, and this animal therefore constitutes a valuable model.


Baboon Folliculogenesis Ovarian follicles Oocyte Granulosa cells Theca cells 



The authors thank Mira Hryniuk for reviewing the English language of the manuscript and Dolores Gonzalez and Olivier Van Kerk for their technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The present study was supported by grants from the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique de Belgique (grant 5/4/150/5 awarded to Marie-Madeleine Dolmans), the Fondation St Luc, and the Foundation Against Cancer, and donations from Mr Pietro Ferrero, Baron Albert Frère, and Viscount Philippe de Spoelberch.

Supplementary material

10815_2016_681_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (340 kb)
Online Resource 1

Immunohistochemical staining for KL. Stained granulosa cells from primordial and primary follicles and stromal cells (a). Stained granulosa cells from secondary (b), small antral (c), and large antral (d) follicles. Negative (e) and positive (f) controls. (JPG 340 kb)

10815_2016_681_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (469 kb)
Online Resource 2

Immunohistochemical staining for c-kit. Stained oolema, ooplasm and granulosa cell cytoplasm of primordial (a) and primary (b) follicles. Stained oolema and ooplasm of secondary (c) and small antral (d) follicles. Negative (e) and positive (f) controls. (JPG 468 kb)

10815_2016_681_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (373 kb)
Online Resource 3

Immunohistochemical staining for Cx43. Unstained primordial (a) and primary (b) follicles. Cx43 is localized between the granulosa cells and also between the granulosa cells and oocyte from secondary (c), small antral (d), and large antral (e) follicles. Negative (f) and positive (g) controls. (JPG 373 kb)

10815_2016_681_MOESM4_ESM.jpg (537 kb)
Online Resource 4

Immunohistochemical localization of ZP3. No immunoreactivity was observed in primordial (a) or primary (b) follicles, only surrounding the oocyte of secondary (red arrow), small antral (c) and large antral (d) follicles. Negative (e) and positive (f) controls. (JPG 536 kb)

10815_2016_681_MOESM5_ESM.jpg (277 kb)
Online Resource 5

Immunohistochemical staining for aromatase. Unstained primordial (a), primary (b) and secondary (c) follicles. Only granulosa cells (cytoplasm) from small antral (c) and large antral (d) follicles showed immunoreactivity for aromatase. Negative (e) and positive (f) controls. (JPG 276 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christiani A. Amorim
    • 1
  • Cristina Fortuño Moya
    • 1
  • Jacques Donnez
    • 2
  • Marie-Madeleine Dolmans
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Pôle de Recherche en Gynécologie, Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et CliniqueUniversité Catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Society for Research into InfertilityBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Gynecology DepartmentCliniques Universitaires Saint-LucBrusselsBelgium

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