Peroxiredoxin 2 deficiency accelerates age-related ovarian failure through the reactive oxygen species-mediated JNK pathway in mice

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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced in biological reactions have been shown to contribute to ovarian aging. Peroxiredoxin 2 (Prx2) is an antioxidant enzyme that protects cells by scavenging ROS; however, its effect on age-related, oxidative stress-associated ovarian failure has not been reported. Here, we investigated its role in age-related ovarian dysfunction and 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD)-induced premature ovarian failure using Prx2-deficient mice. Compared to those in wildtype (WT) mice, serum levels of anti-Müllerian hormone, 17β-estradiol, and progesterone and numbers of follicles and corpora lutea were significantly lower in 18-month-old Prx2−/− mice. Moreover, levels of Bax, cytochrome c, cleaved caspase-3, and phosphorylated JNK proteins were higher and numbers of apoptotic (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling-positive) cells were considerably greater in 18-month-old Prx2−/− ovaries than WT ovaries. Furthermore, the effects of the ovarian toxicant VCD in significantly enhancing ROS levels and apoptosis through activation of JNK-mediated apoptotic signaling were more pronounced in Prx2−/− than WT mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Expression of the steroidogenic proteins StAR, CYP11A1, and 3β-HSD and serum levels of 17β-estradiol and progesterone were also reduced to a greater extent in Prx2−/− mice than WT mice after VCD injection. This reduced steroidogenesis was rescued by addition of the Prx mimic ebselen or JNK inhibitor SP600125. This constitutes the first report that Prx2 deficiency leads to acceleration of age-related or VCD-induced ovarian failure by activation of the ROS-induced JNK pathway. These findings suggest that Prx2 plays an important role in preventing accelerated ovarian failure by inhibiting ROS-induced JNK activation.Graphical abstractHighlightsPrx2 deficiency in female mice accelerates age-related reproductive failure.Prx2 deficiency enhances age-related ovarian structural changes and apoptosis.VCD-induced ROS generation in Prx2-/- mice leads to impaired steroidogenesis.VCD treatment in Prx2 -/- mice promotes apoptosis via ROS-induced JNK activation.Prx2 deficiency leads to acceleration of age-related or VCD-induced ovarian failure.

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