Molecular mechanisms responsible for increased vulnerability of the ageing oocyte to oxidative damage

Bettina P. Mihalas, Kate A. Redgrove, Eileen A. McLaughlin, Brett Nixon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In their midthirties, women experience a decline in fertility, coupled to a pronounced increase in the risk of aneuploidy, miscarriage, and birth defects. Although the aetiology of such pathologies are complex, a causative relationship between the age-related decline in oocyte quality and oxidative stress (OS) is now well established. What remains less certain are the molecular mechanisms governing the increased vulnerability of the aged oocyte to oxidative damage. In this review, we explore the reduced capacity of the ageing oocyte to mitigate macromolecular damage arising from oxidative insults and highlight the dramatic consequences for oocyte quality and female fertility. Indeed, while oocytes are typically endowed with a comprehensive suite of molecular mechanisms to moderate oxidative damage and thus ensure the fidelity of the germline, there is increasing recognition that the efficacy of such protective mechanisms undergoes an age-related decline. For instance, impaired reactive oxygen species metabolism, decreased DNA repair, reduced sensitivity of the spindle assembly checkpoint, and decreased capacity for protein repair and degradation collectively render the aged oocyte acutely vulnerable to OS and limits their capacity to recover from exposure to such insults. We also highlight the inadequacies of our current armoury of assisted reproductive technologies to combat age-related female infertility, emphasising the need for further research into mechanisms underpinning the functional deterioration of the ageing oocyte.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4015874
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalOxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

    Fingerprint

Cite this