Biomechanics and mechanical signaling in the ovary: a systematic review

Jaimin S. Shah, Reem Sabouni, Kamaria C. Cayton Vaught, Carter M. Owen, David F. Albertini, James H. Segars

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: Mammalian oogenesis and folliculogenesis share a dynamic connection that is critical for gamete development. For maintenance of quiescence or follicular activation, follicles must respond to soluble signals (growth factors and hormones) and physical stresses, including mechanical forces and osmotic shifts. Likewise, mechanical processes are involved in cortical tension and cell polarity in oocytes. Our objective was to examine the contribution and influence of biomechanical signaling in female mammalian gametogenesis. Methods: We performed a systematic review to assess and summarize the effects of mechanical signaling and mechanotransduction in oocyte maturation and folliculogenesis and to explore possible clinical applications. The review identified 2568 publications of which 122 met the inclusion criteria. Results: The integration of mechanical and cell signaling pathways in gametogenesis is complex. Follicular activation or quiescence are influenced by mechanical signaling through the Hippo and Akt pathways involving the yes-associated protein (YAP), transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ), phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted from chromosome 10 (PTEN) gene, the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and forkhead box O3 (FOXO3) gene. Conclusions: There is overwhelming evidence that mechanical signaling plays a crucial role in development of the ovary, follicle, and oocyte throughout gametogenesis. Emerging data suggest the complexities of mechanotransduction and the biomechanics of oocytes and follicles are integral to understanding of primary ovarian insufficiency, ovarian aging, polycystic ovary syndrome, and applications of fertility preservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1148
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Folliculogenesis
  • Mechanical signaling
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Oocyte maturation
  • Ovarian biomechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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