Differential contributions of ovarian and extraovarian factors to age-related reductions in plasma estradiol and progesterone during the estrous cycle of C57BL/6J mice

James F. Nelson, Lêda S. Felicio, Heinz H. Osterburg, Caleb E. Finch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relative contributions of ovarian and extraovarian factors to the altered ovarian steroidal profiles of middle-aged mice were assessed by reciprocal, heterochronic ovarian grafting. Ovaries from cycling, young (2 months), and middle-aged (12 months) mice were exchanged by grafting under the renal capsules. Blood samples were obtained daily at midday throughout the estrous cycle for measurement of estradiol (E2) and 3-4 h after lights-out on proestrus to measure the preovulatory elevation of progesterone (P4). Middle-aged intact mice had lower mean concentrations of E2 during the cycle, no detectable midday preovulatory elevation of E2, and an attenuated preovulatory increase of P4 compared to young mice. Ovarian grafts from young donors failed to increase mean E2 levels of middle-aged mice, but did restore the preovulatory elevation of E2 and preovulatory P4 to levels of young controls. Reciprocal grafting confirmed these findings: ovaries from middle-aged donors in young hosts produced mean E2 levels equivalent to those of young mice but were unable to support a preovulatory increase of E2 or a preovulatory P4 level equivalent to that of young controls. These results reveal differential contributions of ovarian and extra-ovarian factors to age changes in E2 and P4. They indicate that ovarian aging plays an important role in attenuating the preovulatory increase of E2 and P4, but extraovarian, presumably neuroendocrine, age changes underlie the mean reduction of E2 levels across the estrous cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-810
Number of pages6
JournalEndocrinology
Volume130
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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