Flow cytometric determination of degraded deoxyribonucleic acid in granulosa cells to identify atretic follicles during preovulatory maturation in the pig.
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Granulosa cells of individual follicles were analyzed by DNA fluorescence flow cytometry to determine how the percentage of cells with degraded DNA and the distribution of cells in the phases of the cell cycle (Go/G1, S1, G2/M) related to the incidence of morphological atresia and to changes in follicular steroid concentrations. Follicles were dissected from ovaries recovered at slaughter on Days 1, 3, 5, or 7 of altrenogest-synchronized preovulatory maturation. Twenty-one follicles with debris among their isolated granulosa cells were classified as morphologically atretic (MA); 92 follicles with debris-free granulosa cells were classified as morphologically healthy (MH). Granulosa cells were prepared for flow cytometry by fixation in 80% ethanol and staining with propidium iodide (PI) containing RNase. DNA fluorescence intensity was determined by use of the 488-nm line of an argon laser. A subpopulation of granulosa cells with degraded DNA (Ao cells), containing less fluorescence than the Go/G1 peak, was found in the DNA histogram of every follicle. The percentage of Ao cells ranged from 0.02 to 83.6% per follicle. The percentage of Ao cells was inversely related to the percentage of Go/G1 cells (r = -0.9611, p = 0.0001). The percentage of Ao cells (mean +/- SEM) was greater (p = 0.0001) in MA (45.9 +/- 6.3%) than in MH follicles (5.3 +/- 1.6%). Follicular estradiol-17 beta was less in MA than in MH follicles, but androstenedione or progesterone did not differ significantly.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)