Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

Reset the Biological Clock?

By Maia WeinstockOctober 1, 2003 5:00 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Ovaries are not just crucial for the creation of children; they may also be crucial for the survival of the mother. Biodemographer James Carey of the University of California at Davis reports that transplanting young ovaries into old mice increases the life span of the recipients.

He and his team removed ovaries from a group of mice several weeks after birth and then allowed the animals to mature. The researchers then implanted ovaries from 2-month-old mice into the test subjects when they were 5, 8, or 11 months old. The 11-month-old recipients lived 60 percent longer than mice whose ovaries were removed and never replaced and 40 percent longer than mice that had undergone no surgery at all. The transplant mice continued to have estrous cycles up to 200 days after the age at which normal mice become infertile. In human terms, the changes are equivalent to increasing the life expectancy of a 50-year-old woman from 80 years to 98 years and having her remain fertile until age 65.

"There's some signaling going on that's saying either repair yourself or stay young," says Carey. Whether people would similarly gain a new lease on life if they received transplanted ovaries (or testes) in their forties or fifties has yet to be tested. First, scientists must identify the mechanism responsible for the antiaging effect. Carey is already planning a search for a specific signal in the transplanted gonads that decreases the rate of aging.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In