Scientists are able to advance the frontiers of human reproduction by employing a variety of molecular biological techniques to understand the biological processes intricately linked to oocyte and ovarian follicle development. Despite an abundance of knowledge concerning essential pathways which may have critical roles in oogenesis and folliculogenesis, the repertoire of medications to treat female fertility problems remains limited to a few classes of drugs involved in the induction or suppression of folliculogenesis and ovulation; many of which are not specific in their drug actions and can give rise to complications during clinical application. This paper aims to review biomolecules and pathways (e.g. PI3K, WNT, MAPK) pertinent to ovarian follicular development and active in human oocytes, including those involved in communication between somatic cells within the ovary (cumulus cells, granulosa cells and thecal cells) and the oocyte itself. These biomolecules which are involved in the nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation of oocytes and the control of ovarian folliculogenesis have potential as targets for improved ovarian stimulation, optimisation of oocyte maturation, and as biomarkers of oocyte viability assessment.
Keywords: Biomarkers, human female fertility, oocyte, ovarian follicle, biomolecules, therapeutic targets, pharmaceutical design, oogenesis, folliculogenesis, GnRH agonists
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