Measures of ovarian aging appear to be linked to biomarkers of cellular aging and cardiovascular risk, according to data presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 2014 Annual Meeting.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco evaluated anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle counts (AFC) — measurements of ovarian reserve — in 1,100 healthy, ovulatory women aged 25 to 45 years. Fasting glucose, insulin and lipid levels were measured, and BMI, waist circumference and blood pressure (BP) were recorded.

The researchers assessed cellular aging by examining telomere length and mitochondrial DNA in participants’ circulating white blood cells. Framingham risk scores for CVD were also examined after 3 to 5 years of follow-up in a subset of 250 women.

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Results showed that women in the upper 10th percentile of AMC and AFC had significantly longer telomere length (P<.05) and lower mitochondrial DNA copy number (P=.03).

Further, the researchers found Framingham risk scores of 1.1%, 1.3% and 2.1% for high, middle and low AFC tertiles, respectively, suggesting that women with greater ovarian reserve were at lower risk for CV events.

“This study supports the systemic view of reproductive health in the context of one’s overall health. Ovarian aging is something that can be measured fairly easily, and it could be a useful way to identify women at particular risk for cardiovascular disease,” Rebecca Z. Sokol, MD, MPH, president of the ASRM, said in a press release.

“Because women are typically diagnosed later in the course of their cardiovascular disease and have a worse prognosis than men, new ways to earlier identify women at particular risk could help improve outcomes for them.”


  1. Cedars MI et al. Abstract O-3. Presented at: American Society for Reproductive Medicine 2014 Annual Meeting; Oct. 18-22, 2014; Honolulu.