The duration of the female fertile life span is influenced by the number of oocytes stored in the ovary as primordial follicles. Cell death, both during ovarian development in the embryo and in the postnatal ovary, plays a critical role in determining how many primordial follicles are established and maintained within the ovary. However, the roles of individual apoptotic regulators in mediating cell death within the ovary have not yet been characterized. In this study, gene targeted mice were used to investigate the role of BCL-2-modifying factor (BMF), a proapoptotic protein belonging to the BH3-only subgroup of the BCL-2 family, in determining the number of primordial follicles maintained in the adult ovary and the length of the fertile life span. Stereological analysis of ovaries showed that Bmf−/− mice had significantly more primordial follicles than wild-type (WT) control animals at Postnatal Days 100, 200, 300, and 400 but not at Day 20. No differences were observed between WT and Bmf−/− mice in the number of ova shed following ovulatory stimulation with exogenous gonadotropins. Bmf−/− females were fertile and produced the same number pups/litter as WT females, but Bmf−/− females produced litters more frequently and consequently more offspring than WT females over a 6-mo period. Furthermore, the fertile life span of Bmf−/− females was significantly extended compared to WT females. Our findings support an important role for BMF in determining the number of primordial follicles maintained in the ovary throughout adult reproductive life and thus indicate that the length of female fertility may be extended by increasing the number of primordial follicles maintained within the ovary through inhibition of BMF.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 90 • No. 4