Aging and long-term ovariectomy alter the cytoarchitecture of the hypothalamic-preoptic area of the C57BL/6J mouse

M. M. Miller, B. E. Gould, J. F. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Long-term ovariectomy attenuates several neuroendocrine-dependent changes in reproductive function of aging female rodents, but the sites affected and underlying mechanisms are not known. This study was designed to identify effects of aging on hypothalamic -preoptic neurocytoarchitecture and to determine whether long-term ovariectomy attenuated any of those changes. Coronal sections from midportions of the preoptic area (POA), suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and arcuate nucleus (ARC) were examined by quantitative light microscopy in young (5 month) and old (18-20 months) intact mice and in old mice which had been ovariectomized at 6 months of age. Neuronal density in old intact mice decreased in both ARC and POA (30%; p<0.05), but no significant decrease occurred in SCN. Total perikaryal area decreased only in ARC (10%; p<0.05), while area of perikaryal nuclei did not change in any region. Area of nucleoli increased (13%; p<0.005) in all three regions of old intact and old ovariectomized mice. Neither density nor size of glia changed with age. Density of blood vessels increased strikingly in ARC (150%; p<0.05), and in POA (30%; p<0.05), but not significantly in SCN of old mice. Long-term ovariectomy did not prevent any of these changes; indeed, it promoted the decline of neuronal density in SCN (40%; p<0.05) and neuronal area (15%; p<0.05) in POA. Reductions in neuronal density were not explained by expansion of the SCN or peri-ARC or peri-POA regions. These results demonstrate that age-related changes in hypothalamic preoptic cytoarchitecture are selective and region specific, and indicate that long-term ovariectomy affects reproductive aging by means other than modulating the neurocytoarchitectural changes observed in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-690
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Angiogenesis
  • Blood vessels
  • Glia
  • Morphometry
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Aging
  • General Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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