Histologic analysis and lipid profiling reveal reproductive age-associated changes in peri-ovarian adipose tissue

Shweta S. Dipali, Christina R. Ferreira, Luhan T. Zhou, Michele T. Pritchard, Francesca E. Duncan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Reproductive aging is a robust phenotype that occurs in all females and is characterized by a significant reduction in gamete quantity and quality, which can have negative consequences on both endocrine function and fertility. Age-associated differences in the oocyte, follicle, and ovary have been well-documented, but how the broader environment changes with age is less well understood. Fat is one of the largest organs in the body, and peri-gonadal adipose tissue surrounds the rodent ovary and comprises a local ovarian environment. The goal of this study was to characterize how peri-ovarian adipose tissue changes with advanced reproductive age. Methods: We isolated peri-gonadal adipose tissue from two cohorts of CB6F1 mice: reproductively young (6-12 weeks) and reproductively old (14-17 months). A comparative histological analysis was performed to evaluate adipocyte architecture. We then extracted lipids from the tissue and performed multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)-profiling, a mass spectrometry-based method of metabolite profiling, to compare the lipid profiles of peri-gonadal adipose tissue in these age cohorts. Results: We found that advanced reproductive age was associated with adipocyte hypertrophy and a corresponding decrease in the number of adipocytes per area. Of the 10 lipid classes examined, triacylglycerols (TAGs) had significantly different profiles between young and old cohorts, despite quantitative analysis revealing a decrease in the total amount of TAGs per weight of peri-gonadal adipose tissue with age. Conclusions: These findings pinpoint age-associated physiological changes in peri-gonadal adipose tissue with respect to adipocyte morphology and lipid profiles and lay the foundation for future studies to examine how these alterations may influence both adipocyte and ovarian function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalReproductive Biology and Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 12 2019


  • Adipose
  • Aging
  • Ovary
  • Peri-gonadal
  • Triacylglycerol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Developmental Biology


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