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The Kunming mouse: as a model for age-related decline in female fertility in human

  • Long-Bo Cui (a1), Xue-Ying Zhou (a2), Zhen-Jun Zhao (a2), Qian Li (a2), Xiu-Ying Huang (a3) and Fang-Zhen Sun (a1)...

To ascertain whether the Kunming (KM) mouse is an available model for age-related decline in female fertility in human or not, oocytes from young (6–8 weeks), middle-aged (9 months) and aged (12 months) female mice were compared with respect to number of oocytes, frequency of in-vitro maturation (IVM) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and meiotic chromosome segregation and alignment. The mean number of pups born per mouse decreased significantly from the young to the middle-aged and the aged mice. The mean number of ovarian follicles, ovarian germinal vesicle oocytes and ovulated MII oocytes decreased significantly with maternal age. The rate of IVM in oocytes from young mice (73.9%) was less significantly than that in oocytes from middle-aged and aged mice (86.1% and 84.4%, respectively). Immunocytochemical analysis showed that ageing caused a significantly higher rate (49.3%) of chromosome misalignment than that (15.7%) of the young mice. The presence of premature chromatids was also significantly higher in MII oocytes of aged mice as compared with young mice (37.8 versus 8.3%). Pronuclear formation was delayed in oocytes of middle-aged and aged females (35.5 and 42.3% respectively in 5 h of IVF) as compared with young mice (88.1%). The study suggests that KM mouse exhibits an age-related decline in female fertility. Significant reduction of germinal vesicle (GV) and MII oocytes and significant increase of metaphase chromosome misalignment and premature chromatid segregation after meiotic maturation of oocytes, similar to human, presumably contribute to the decline in aged KM mice.

Corresponding author
All correspondence to: Long-Bo Cui. School of Life Sciences, Yantai University, Yantai 264005, P.R. China. Tel: +86 535 6903162. e-mail: or Fang-Zhen Sun. Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, P.R. China. Tel: +86 10 64807677. e-mail:
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