Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



PLoS ONE 10(2): e0116332. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0116332


Copyright: © 2015 Sargent et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,


Because VEGFA has been implicated in follicle development, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of granulosa- and germ cell-specific VEGFA loss on ovarian morphogenesis, function, and female fertility. pDmrt1-Cre mice were mated to floxed VEGFA mice to develop granulosa-/germ cell-specific knockouts (pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/-). The time from mating to first parturition was increased when pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- females were mated to control males (P = 0.0008) and tended to be longer for heterozygous females (P < 0.07). Litter size was reduced for pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- females (P < 0.007). The time between the first and second parturitions was also increased for heterozygous females (P < 0.04) and tended to be increased for pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- females (P < 0.07). pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- females had smaller ovaries (P < 0.04), reduced plasma estradiol (P < 0.007), fewer developing follicles (P < 0.008) and tended to have fewer corpora lutea (P < 0.08). Expression of Igf1r was reduced (P < 0.05); expression of Foxo3a tended to be increased (P < 0.06); and both Fshr (P < 0.1) and Sirt6 tended to be reduced (P < 0.06) in pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- ovaries. To compare VEGFA knockouts, we generated Amhr2-Cre;Vegfa-/- mice that required more time from mating to first parturition (P < 0.003) with variable ovarian size. Both lines had more apoptotic granulosa cells, and vascular staining did not appear different. Taken together these data indicate that the loss of all VEGFA isoforms in granulosa/germ cells (proangiogenic and antiangiogenic) causes subfertility by arresting follicular development, resulting in reduced ovulation rate and fewer pups per litter.

Includes 2 supplementary files.