Image of the Day: Old Ovaries

Oxidative stress associated with aging damages ovarian cells in both humans and nonhuman primates.

Amy Schleunes
Amy Schleunes

A former intern at The Scientist, Amy studied neurobiology at Cornell University and later earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa. She is a Los...

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Feb 6, 2020
An immunofluorescence analysis of monkey ovarian tissue shows muscle filaments in green, smooth muscle proteins in red, and nuclear DNA in blue.

Impaired antioxidant activity is a key aspect of ovarian aging, which can result in cell death and decreased fertility in monkeys, report the authors of a study published on January 30 in Cell. Researchers identified seven types of ovarian cells in cynomolgus monkeys and found transcriptional changes in antioxidant signaling “indicative of oxidative damage as a crucial factor in ovarian functional decline with age,” they write in the paper. Human ovarian cells revealed two antioxidant genes, IDH1 and NDUFB10, whose function decreased in response to cellular stress and may be targets for preserving fertility, according to a press release. 

“Our research is enabling the identification of new biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of female infertility as well as aging-associated human ovarian disorders,” says coauthor Concepcion Rodriquez Esteban of the Salk Institute, in the statement. “These genes could possibly be targeted for the development of therapies to assist with fertility preservation.”

S. Wang et al., “Single-cell transcriptomic atlas of primate ovarian aging,” Cell, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2020.01.009, 2020.

Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at