The Thickness and Density of the Ovarian Tunica Albuginea Increases with Age in Transgender Patients

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Abstract

It is known that the extracellular matrix structure and composition changes with aging in many organs. Despite this, knowledge on how does the extracellular part of the ovary change with increasing age in women and how those changes might be related to women’s loss of fertility is still lacking. For this, we propose that recurrent injury and repair events on the outermost layers of the ovary due to ovulation are partly responsible for those changes women experience with aging. The histological analysis of the ovaries from 18 female-to-male transgender patients revealed that the ovarian tunica albuginea (TA) increases its thickness and density correlatively with increasing age of the patient (r = 0.52 and r = 0.55, P < 0.05 respectively). The increase in thickness is independent of the total androgen dose received and occurs because of the appearance of defined fibrotic areas underneath the TA layer which increase the total distance of dense connective tissue from the ovarian surface. In conclusion, the ovarian TA increases in its thickness and density with aging because of the appearance of fibrotic areas underneath the layer in transgender patients. This fact might contribute to reduce oocyte quality and cause ovulation difficulties in older women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1339-1346
Number of pages8
JournalReproductive Sciences
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Extracellular matrix
  • Fibrosis
  • Ovary
  • Tunica albuginea
  • collagen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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