Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine

TITLE: Age-related changes in gene expression patterns of immature and aged rat primordial follicles.

Women are born with millions of primordial follicles which gradually decrease with increasing age and this irreversible supply of follicles completely exhausts at menopause. The fertility capacity of women diminishes in parallel with aging. The mechanisms for reproductive aging are not fully understood. We have observed a decline in Brca1 mediated DNA repair in aging rat primordial follicles. To further understand the age-related molecular changes, we performed microarray gene expression analysis using total RNA extracted from immature (18 to 20 day old) and aged (400 to 450 day old) rat primordial follicles. The results of current microarray study revealed that there were 1,011 (>1.5 fold, p<0.05) genes differentially expressed between two groups in which 422 genes were up-regulated and 589 genes were down-regulated in aged rat primordial follicles compared to immature primordial follicles. The gene ontology and pathway analysis of differentially expressed genes revealed a critical biological function such as cell cycle, oocyte meiosis, chromosomal stability, transcriptional activity, DNA replication, and DNA repair were affected by age. This considerable difference in gene expression profiles may have an adverse influence on oocyte quality. Our data provide information on the processes that may contribute to aging and age-related decline in fertility.


Vijayakumar Govindaraj, Harshini Krishnagiri, Payal Chakraborty, Madavan Vasudevan, A. Jagannadha Rao

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