The clock is no longer ticking: scientists have turned out how to rejuvenate oocytes

As women age, the quality and quantity of oocytes decreases. Although the timing of this process is individual, it is believed that after 30 fertility begins to decline and by the age of 45 it drops dramatically. Researchers at the University of Queensland and the University of New South Wales have come up with a way to slow down the "ticking clock": they have raised the level of an important molecule in laboratory mice and reversed the aging of their oocytes. The results can help specialists develop drugs to treat infertility in humans.

It is known that women are born with a certain set of oocytes, which is getting smaller every year. This reduces fertility - the ability to produce offspring. With age, when a woman loses most healthy eggs, the chances of giving birth become minimal.

Scientists have found that aging in rodents is accompanied by a decrease in nicotinamideninucleotide (NAD+) - important for the metabolism of molecules. Decrease in the amount of NAD+ affects the quality of the remaining eggs and eventually leads to fertility problems in females.

Specialists decided to restore the level of these molecules and see if it is possible to delay the onset of infertility.

As a treatment, mice were given oral doses of a compound precursor called nicotinamidmononucleotide (NMN). Cells use NMN to produce NAD+ in the body.

The tests were successful: the quality of eggs in rodents was restored, the number of births of calves increased.

Such results can help scientists create a new type of treatment for couples who want to increase their chances of having a baby. The method of oral administration of NAD+ stimulating agents is less invasive than IVF, according to the authors of the study. 

Next, they intend to move on to larger trials, including on humans.

Feb. 14, 2020, 10:26 a.m.

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