College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-20-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jingjing Kipp, PhD

Second Advisor

Margaret Bell, PhD

Third Advisor

Talitha Rajah, PhD


When there is abnormal endocrine signaling in the follicles, infertility, and ovarian diseases such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian failure (POF), and different types of ovarian cancers may occur. Retinoic acid (RA), a biologically active derivative of vitamin A, is a critical signaling molecule that plays a vital role in various physiological processes, including embryonic development, tissue differentiation, and reproductive function. RA has been observed to influence granulosa cell proliferation through a cell signaling cascade involving Retinoic Acid Receptors (RARs), which have three isoforms alpha, beta, and gamma. We characterized a new retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARA) conditional knockout mouse by using the Cre/Lox system. Our findings unveiled the indispensable role of retinoic acid signaling, mediated through RARA, in orchestrating various stages of ovarian development. The absence of RARA in the granulosa cell layer of the ovary resulted in distinct disruptions in follicular formation and maturation, increase in ovarian pathologies, and phenotypic evidence of POF. Overall, this study provides compelling evidence of the critical involvement of retinoic acid signaling, mediated by RARA, in ovarian development and fertility. This study will help better understand the prevention and treatment of ovarian diseases.

SLP Collection


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Biology Commons