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Ovarian follicle - Definition


An ovarian follicle is a small bag-like component in which the oocyte is stored until its maturation and release. At puberty, ovarian follicles in large numbers are formed in the ovaries, but their maturation is blocked. With each menstrual cycle in women, some oocytes develop, and one will be released into the initial part of the fallopian tube: the follicle is called the Graafian follicle or mature follicle. An ovarian follicle increases in size at the beginning of the menstrual cycle and then bursts to release the egg ready to be fertilized: this is called ovulation. After ovulation, the empty follicle becomes the corpus luteum, which still has an important role as it secretes the hormone progesterone, which, in the absence of fertilization of the oocyte, will trigger menstruation.