Observations by scanning and transmission electron microscopy during ovarian development (from 7 wk until term of gestation) showed numerous germ cells within the superficial epithelial layer covering the ovary. In early stages of differentiation (between 7 and 11 wk), germ cells appeared to be actively migrating to the surface of the ovary by ameboid-like movements. Later, the transfer of the germ cells to the surface epithelium was also occurring passively, as a consequence of an intense proliferation of germ and somatic cells - arranged in clusters and cords - migrating towards the most superficial areas of the ovary. The present evidence suggests that a number of primordial germ cells - as well as oogonia and oocytes - which lie in the superficial epithelium can leave the ovary and ultimately rest freely upon its surface. Elimination of germ cells during differentiation of the ovary in humans was always paralleled by necrosis of oogonia and oocytes and atretic alteration of primitive follicles. The significance of these processes is discussed in relation to the reduction of the pool of oocytes at birth. © 1986.
Motta, P. M., & Makabe, S. (1986). Elimination of germ cells during differentiation of the human ovary: an electron microscopic study. European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 22(5–6), 271–286. https://doi.org/10.1016/0028-2243(86)90115-2