Taking control of the female fertile lifespan: A key role for Bcl-2 family proteins

Seng H. Liew, Kavitha Vaithiyanathan, Karla J. Hutt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review


Precisely how the length of the female fertile lifespan is regulated is poorly understood and it is likely to involve complex factors, one of which is follicle number. Indeed, the duration of female fertility appears to be intimately linked to the number of available oocytes, which are stored in the ovary as primordial follicles. There is mounting evidence implicating the intrinsic apoptosis pathway, which is controlled by members of the B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) family, as a key regulator of the number of primordial follicles established in the ovary at birth and maintained throughout reproductive life. Consequently, the pro- and anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family proteins are emerging as key determinants of the length of the female fertile lifespan. This review discusses the relationship between the intrinsic apoptosis pathway, follicle number and length of the female fertile lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-871
Number of pages8
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • apoptosis
  • BCL2- family proteins
  • BH3-only proteins
  • fertility
  • follicles
  • ovary
  • primordial follicles.

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