Oogenesis in Mammals
In mammals also the oogonial cells are derived from primordial germ cells. The multiplication phase, that is all of the oogonial divisions and transformation of oogonia into oocyte are completed either before or shortly after birth. A number of oocytes are produced, all of which are held in meiotic arrest in prophase I.
Essentially in mammals the period of oogenesis covers the entire life of an individual from birth to ovulation. The meiotic arrest is released at the time of puberty after which a group of oocytes begin development during each cycle. A large percentage of oocytes fail to undergo maturation and therefore degenerate. The oocytes in mammals are found in close association with non-germ cells in the ovary. The non-germ cells or the accessory cells produce steroid hormones, transport some of the essential cytoplasmic components into the oocyte and are also involved in the formation of cellular or non-cellular layers that surround the fully differentiated egg. The accessory cells that surround the egg are of two types -
(1) Follicle cells,
(2) Nurse cells.
The follicle cells are somatic cells which surround the oocyte as a single layer of the cells and are known as follicular epithelial cells. The nurse cells are derived from germ cell line and are connected with the oocyte by cytoplasmic bridges. During the growth of the oocyte, the single layered follicular epithelium proliferates and becomes multilayered and the cells are called granulosa cells. The granulosa cells and the oocyte are separated by a space which is filled with sulphated glycoproteins. This layer becomes the zona pellucida of the oocyte. When proliferation of the granulosa cells is completed they secrete a fluid that accumulates in the intercellular spaces. The fluid filled spaces coalesce to form a cavity called antrum.