STKE: Better Bones Without Bax

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Science  06 Apr 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5821, pp. 21c
DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5821.21c

At about age 50, the depletion of ovarian follicles through apoptosis leads to the loss of cyclic ovarian function in women. Although aging female mice do not undergo menopause, they do suffer a depletion of ovarian follicles and health complications similar to those of postmenopausal women. After their earlier finding that oocyte loss was mitigated in mice lacking the proapoptotic protein Bax, Perez et al. investigated aging Bax-deficient female mice and found them to be leaner and more active than their wild-type counterparts. They retained more of their hair, developed fewer cataracts, experienced less wrinkling of the skin, and had stronger bones. Although older Bax knockout mice failed to become pregnant, they did ovulate in response to gonadotropin, and when their ovarian tissue was grafted into young wild-type females, the oocytes produced viable pups. Finally, behavioral analyses indicated that the knockouts were less anxious and more attentive than wild-type mice. — EMA

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104, 5229 (2007).

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