Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Stressful Parenting

Reduced activity of two genes in the ovary associated with age-related infertility

01 June 2020

Stressful Parenting

As society evolves and our lifestyles shift, more and more people are choosing to have children later in life. Our bodies don’t always bend to our will, however, and a growing number of women are experiencing issues with infertility, stemming in part from the age-related decline of the ovaries. To better understand, and ultimately counter, this problem, researchers closely examined how the ovaries of primates (one pictured, with key features highlighted such as muscle filaments, green, muscle proteins, red, and DNA, blue) change as they age. They discovered that oxidative stress, a process that damages cells, plays an important role in ovarian ageing, and that genes typically involved in fighting it become less active with age. Comparing old and young monkey ovaries, and then data from healthy women, the researchers identified two key genes that slow with age, pointing to a promising potential target for the diagnosis and treatment of age-related infertility.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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