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Open Access Characterization of Ovarian Aging and Reproductive Senescence in Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus)

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Female vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) are used as an experimental model for chronic diseases relevant to women's health. However, reproductive senescence (menopause) has not yet been characterized for vervet monkeys. Here we describe the histologic, hormonal, and menstrual markers of reproductive senescence in vervet monkeys from the Wake Forest Vervet Research Colony. Ovaries from monkeys (age, 0 to 27 y) were serially sectioned (5 μm), stained, and photographed. In every 100th section, the numbers of primordial, primary, and secondary follicles were determined, and triplicate measurements were used to calculate mean numbers of follicles per ovary. Antim├╝llerian hormone (AMH), follicle stimulating hormone, and menstrual cycle length were measured in additional monkeys. Primordial follicles and AMH decreased significantly with age, and significant correlations between numbers of primordial and primary follicles and between numbers of primary and secondary follicles were noted. Histologic evaluation revealed that ovaries from 4 aged monkeys (older than 23 y) were senescent. One aged monkey transitioned to menopause, experiencing cycle irregularity over 4 y, eventual cessation of menses, and plasma AMH below the level of detection. Finally, with increasing age, the percentage of female vervets with offspring declined significantly. The present study provides insight into ovarian aging and reproductive senescence in vervet monkeys. Results highlight the importance of considering this nonhuman primate as a model to investigate the relationships between ovarian aging and chronic disease risk.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, College Station, Texas, USA 2: Wake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Pathology (Comparative Medicine) and the Wake Forest University Primate Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA 3: Wake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Pathology (Comparative Medicine) and the Wake Forest University Primate Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: February 1, 2014

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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