Light micrograph of a number of primary follicles (potential female ova - eggs) in the ovarian cortex. The development of primordial follicles (formed between the 4th & 7th months of foetal development) into primary follicles begins at sexual maturity. In each ovarian cycle up to 20 primordial follicles are activated to form a primary follice: only one will reach full maturity & be released at ovulation. Follicular cells proliferate to form a thickened layer, the zona granulosa. The central oocyte (housing the female gamete) is separated from the follicular cells by a glycoprotein layer, the zona pellucida.
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