Models and biomarkers for ovarian ageing

Tom Kelsey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The human ovarian reserve is defined by the number of non-growing follicles (NGFs) in the ovary, with the age-related decline in NGF population determining age at menopause for healthy women. In this chapter, the concept of ovarian reserve is explored in detail, with a sequence of models described that in principle allow any individual to be compared to the general population. As there is no current technology that can count the NGFs in a living ovary, we move our focus to biomarkers for the ovarian reserve. Using serum analysis and ultrasound it is possible to measure anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and ovarian volume (OV) and to count numbers of antral follicles (AFC). These are compared, with ovarian volume being the closest to a true biomarker for a wide range of ages and with AMH and AFC being the most popular for post-pubertal and pre-menopausal ages. The study of genetic and subcellular biomarkers for the ovarian reserve has produced less concrete results. Recent advances are described and compared in terms of limitations and potential. The chapter concludes with an overview of the future study indicated by our current knowledge and by current controversy in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiochemistry and cell biology of ageing
Subtitle of host publicationpart IV, clinical science
EditorsJ. Robin Harris, Viktor I. Korolchuk
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783031265761
ISBN (Print)9783031265754
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameSubcellular Biochemistry
ISSN (Print)0306-0225
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8810


  • Ovarian reserve
  • Mathemathical model
  • Reproductive age
  • Biomarker
  • Fertility
  • Menopause


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