Female reproductive decline is one of the first aging phenotypes in humans, manifested in increasing rates of infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects in children of mothers over 35. Recently, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has been developed as a model to study reproductive aging, and several studies have advanced our knowledge of reproductive aging regulation in this organism. In this review, we describe our current understanding of reproductive cessation in C. elegans, including the relationship between oocyte quality, ovulation rate, progeny number, and reproductive span. We then discuss possible mechanisms of oocyte quality control, and provide an overview of the signaling pathways currently identified to be involved in reproductive span regulation in C. elegans. Finally, we extend the relevance of C. elegans reproductive aging studies to the issue of human female reproductive decline, and we discuss ideas concerning the relationship between reproductive aging and somatic longevity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology
- C. elegans
- Germ line