Intrinsic neurons in the human ovary

Gabriel Anesetti, Paula Lombide, Hortensia D'Albora, Sergio R. Ojeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Mammalian ovarian function is regulated by both hormonal inputs and direct neural influences. Recent studies have shown that, in addition to the extrinsic innervation, the ovaries of nonhuman primates and a strain of rats contain a discrete population of intrinsic neurons. In the present study, we used histological and immunohistochemical approaches to identify the presence of neuronal cell bodies in the fetal and neonatal human ovary. Neurons containing neurofilament immunoreactivity were detected in the hilum and medulla of the ovary at all ages studied, ranging from 24 weeks of gestation to 10 months of postnatal age. Most of them coexpressed the low affinity neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR), and some were catecholaminergic, as determined by their content of immunoreactive tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine biosynthesis. The presence of intrinsic neurons in the human ovary, similar to those previously found in other species, indicates that they may be engaged in regulating common, phylogenetically conserved, ovarian functions. It also raises the possibility that their dysfunction may contribute to the manifestation of particular ovarian pathologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-237
Number of pages7
JournalCell and tissue research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Human
  • Nerve growth factor receptor
  • Ovarian innervation
  • Ovary
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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