Mitochondrial role in female reproductive aging

Lecture Type: Grandrounds

Mitochondrial role in female reproductive aging

Vitaly A Kushnir, MD FACOG

Physician & Associate Scientist, Center for Human Reproduction – NY

Born in the former Soviet Union, Dr. Kushnir emigrated as a child to the U.S., where the family settled in Salt Lake City, Utah. After college he pursued medical school at the New York Program of Sackler School of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University in Israel. After graduation, he returned to the U.S. for a residency in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health at UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School, where he was a recipient of Resident Research Award. After a 3-year fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Kushnir joined CHR in July 2012. Dr. Kushnir is an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Society for Gynecologic Investigation and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where he served as Junior Fellow Chair in its New Jersey Section between 2006 and 2008. Dr. Kushnir has been a recipient of numerous research awards, including the Excellence in Research by a Fellow, awarded by Emory University in 2012 for his research in the role of mitochondria in female reproductive aging. Dr. Kushnir has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and abstracts, with a keen focus on ovarian physiology and aging. In addition to presenting at multiple professional society meetings, Dr. Kushnir has also authored many book chapters on topics in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as reproductive endocrinology and infertility.


Mitochondrial function is integral to both somatic cell and gamete aging. Novel therapies aimed at the mitochondria may help to delay or reverse reproductive aging and transmission of mitochondrial diseases. One of the most promising therapies for female fertility is CoQ10 supplementation. CoQ10 may improve female fertility by supporting energy metabolism within the oocytes. In this lecture, a review of mitochondrial genetics and mechanisms of female reproductive aging will be supplemented with a review of past and future treatments involving oocyte mitochondria. In addition, recent human and animal data on which current understanding of oocyte biology will be reviewed.


  • Describe basic principles of mitochondrial genetics
  • Explain role of mitochondrial number and function in the aging process
  • List past and emerging techniques to prevent genetic transmissions of mitochondrial diseases

VIDEO: Mitochondrial role in female reproductive aging

Recorded on: Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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