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Analyzing the cellular and molecular atlas of ovarian mesenchymal cells provides a strategy against female reproductive aging
Longzhong Jia # 1, Wenji Wang # 1 2, Jing Liang 1, Shudong Niu 1, Yibo Wang 1, Jian Yang 1, Lingyu Li 1, Ge Wang 1, Xueqiang Xu 1, Lu Mu 1, Kaixin Cheng 1, Xuebing Yang 1, Yijing Wang 3, Haoshu Luo 1, Guoliang Xia 1 4, Yuwen Ke 5, Yan Zhang 6, Hua Zhang 7
Ovarian mesenchymal cells (oMCs) constitute a distinct microenvironment that supports folliculogenesis under physiological conditions. Supplementation of exogenous non-ovarian mesenchymal-related cells has been reported to be an efficient approach to improve ovarian functions. However, the development and cellular and molecular characteristics of endogenous oMCs remain largely unexplored. In this study, we surveyed the single-cell transcriptomic landscape to dissect the cellular and molecular changes associated with the aging of oMCs in mice. Our results showed that the oMCs were composed of five ovarian differentiated MC (odMC) populations and one ovarian mesenchymal progenitor (oMP) cell population. These cells could differentiate into various odMCs via an oMP-derived route to construct the ovarian stroma structures. Comparative analysis revealed that ovarian aging was associated with decreased quantity of oMP cells and reduced quality of odMCs. Based on the findings of bioinformatics analysis, we designed different strategies involving supplementation with young oMCs to examine their effects on female fertility and health. Our functional investigations revealed that oMCs supplementation prior to ovarian senescence was the optimal method to improve female fertility and extend the reproductive lifespan of aged females in the long-term.