Ovarian toxicity and infertility are major side effects of cancer therapy in young female cancer patients. We and others have previously demonstrated that doxorubicin (DOX), one of the most widely used chemotherapeutic chemicals, has a dose-dependent toxicity on growing follicles. However, it is not fully understood if the primordial follicles are the direct or indirect target of DOX. Using both prepubertal and young adult female mouse models, we comprehensively investigated the effect of DOX on all developmental stages of follicles, determined the impact of DOX on primordial follicle survival, activation, and development, as well as compared the impact of age on DOX-induced ovarian toxicity. Twenty-one-day-old CD-1 female mice were intraperitoneally injected with PBS or clinically relevant dose of DOX at 10 mg/kg once. Results indicated that DOX primarily damaged granulosa cells in growing follicles and oocytes in primordial follicles and DOX-induced growing follicle apoptosis was associated with the primordial follicle overactivation. Using the 5-day-old female mice with a more uniform primordial follicle population, our data revealed that DOX also directly promoted primordial follicle death and the DNA damage-TAp63α-C-CASP3 pathway was involved in DOX-induced primordial follicle oocyte apoptosis. Compared to 21-day- and 8-week-old female mice that were treated with the same dose of DOX, the 5-day-old mice had the most severe primordial follicle loss as well as the least degree of primordial follicle overactivation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that DOX obliterates mouse ovarian reserve through both primordial follicle atresia and overactivation and the DOX-induced ovarian toxicity is age dependent.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ovarian reserve
- Primordial follicle