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Sci China Life Sci. 2012 Aug;55(8):659-69. doi: 10.1007/s11427-012-4352-5. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Current understanding of ovarian aging.

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Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale and School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230027, China.


The reproductive system of human female exhibits a much faster rate of aging than other body systems. Ovarian aging is thought to be dominated by a gradual decreasing numbers of follicles, coinciding with diminished quality of oocytes. Menopause is the final step in the process of ovarian aging. This review focuses on the mechanisms underlying the ovarian aging involving a poor complement of follicles at birth and a high rate of attrition each month, as well as the alternated endocrine factors. We also discuss the possible causative factors that contribute to ovarian aging, e.g., genetic factors, accumulation of irreparable damage of microenvironment, pathological effect and other factors. The appropriate and reliable methods to assess ovarian aging, such as quantification of follicles, endocrine measurement and genetic testing have also been discussed. Increased knowledge of the ovarian aging mechanisms may improve the prevention of premature ovarian failure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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