Revisiting Ovaries and Longevity in Mammals

It has been known for some years that manipulation or transplant of ovaries can influence longevity in mammals, a fact that might be compared with the mechanisms linking germ cells to nematode longevity. Here is a recent demonstration: "Previously we reported that prepubertally ovariectomized mice that received young transplanted ovaries at a postreproductive age showed a 40% increase in life expectancy. To study this phenomenon in greater detail, 11-month-old ovariectomized and ovary-intact CBA/J mice underwent ovarian transplantation with 60-day-old ovaries or a sham surgery. Results from observations on transplant recipients in the current study extended our previous results. Whereas intact control mice lived an average of 726 days, transplant recipients lived an average of 770 days (i.e., 780 days for intact recipients and 757 days for ovariectomized recipients). If intact recipients had ceased reproductive cycling by the time of transplant, we observed a further increase in mean life span to 811 days. These results demonstrate that young ovaries enhanced longevity when transplanted to old mice and that ovarian status, examined by means of ovariectomy and ovarian transplantation, clearly influenced the potential of young transplanted ovaries to positively impact longevity." We still await an understanding of the biochemical mechanisms involved in this method of life extension.



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