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Biol Reprod. 1983 Mar;28(2):255-60.

Imminent oocyte exhaustion and reduced follicular recruitment mark the transition to acyclicity in aging C57BL/6J mice.


Quantitative cytological analyses of aging C57BL/6J mouse ovaries revealed that the populations of primordial and growing follicles were nearly exhausted by 13-14 months, the average age of ovulatory failure. Anovulatory animals of this age had, on the average, half the follicle number of their counterparts which were still ovulating. This result suggests that follicular depletion is a factor which contributes to the loss of ovarian cyclicity during aging. However, the considerable overlap of follicle number between the two groups suggests that other, possibly extraovarian, factors also influence the loss of ovulatory function. Although the numbers of follicles recruited for growth was much lower in ovaries from old cycling animals, the number of ova shed cyclically was generally within the range of younger individuals. The observed reduction in incidence of morphological atresia among medium-sized follicles may explain how ovulatory constancy is maintained virtually throughout the cyclical life of the ovary.

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