• Open Access

Prolonging the female reproductive lifespan and improving egg quality with dietary omega-3 fatty acids

Authors

  • Deepika Nehra,

    1. Department of Surgery and the Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Hau D. Le,

    1. Department of Surgery and the Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Erica M. Fallon,

    1. Department of Surgery and the Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Sarah J. Carlson,

    1. Department of Surgery and the Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Dori Woods,

    1. Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Yvonne A. White,

    1. Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Amy H. Pan,

    1. Department of Surgery and the Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Lankai Guo,

    1. Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Scott J. Rodig,

    1. Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Jonathan L. Tilly,

    1. Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Bo R. Rueda,

    1. Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Mark Puder

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    • Department of Surgery and the Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA
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Correspondence

Mark Puder, MD, PhD, 300 Longwood Ave, Fegan 3, Boston MA 02115, USA. Tel.: +617 355 1838; fax: +617 730 0477; e-mail: mark.puder@childrens.harvard.edu

Summary

Women approaching advanced maternal age have extremely poor outcomes with both natural and assisted fertility. Moreover, the incidence of chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects increases with age. As of yet, there is no effective and practical strategy for delaying ovarian aging or improving oocyte quality. We demonstrate that the lifelong consumption of a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids prolongs murine reproductive function into advanced maternal age, while a diet rich in omega-6 fatty acids is associated with very poor reproductive success at advanced maternal age. Furthermore, even short-term dietary treatment with a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids initiated at the time of the normal age-related rapid decline in murine reproductive function is associated with improved oocyte quality, while short-term dietary treatment with omega-6 fatty acids results in very poor oocyte quality. Thus, omega-3 fatty acids may provide an effective and practical avenue for delaying ovarian aging and improving oocyte quality at advanced maternal age.

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