Female mice that receive transplanted ovaries from younger mice live 40% longer than a control group, reinforcing theories that reproductive organs and hormones play an important role in mammalian aging.
The study involved the removal of ovaries from three-week-old mice.
The mice later received ovaries from two-month-old female donors when they were five, eight, or 11 months old. The three ages represent the early, peak and decline stages of reproductive capacity in mice.
At 11 months — equivalent to 50 years in humans, and an age when female mice are normally past their reproductive stage — the researchers began comparing the life expectancy of mice that received an ovary transplant to mice that didn’t.
They found that the lifespan of mice with transplanted ovaries was 40% greater.