Over the past four decades, due to cultural and social changes, women in the developed world have significantly delayed childbirth. This trend is even worse for patients who attend infertility clinics. It is well-known that live birth rates in women older than 35 are significantly lower than in those younger, both naturally and with assisted reproduction. Fertility decline is, in part, due to an increase in oocyte aneuploidy that leads to a reduced embryo quality, as well as an increased incidence of miscarriages and birth defects. Here we show that aging-associated malfunction is not restricted to the oocyte, as cumulus granulosa cells also display a series of defects linked to mitochondrial activity. In, both, human and mouse model, a decline in cumulus cell function due to increased maternal age is accompanied by a decreased expression of enzymes responsible for Coenzyme Q (CoQ) production, particularly Pdss2 and CoQ6. In an aged mouse model supplementation with Coenzyme Q10—a potent stimulator of mitochondrial function—restored cumulus cell number, stimulated glucose uptake, and increased progesterone production. CoQ10 supplementation might, thus, improve oocyte and cumulus cells quantity and quality, by improving the mitochondrial metabolism in females of advanced maternal age.
- Cumulus cells