Through the smoke: Use ofin vivoandin vitrocigarette smoking models to elucidate its effect on female fertility

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A finite number of oocytes are established within the mammalian ovary prior to birth to form a precious ovarian reserve. Damage to this limited pool of gametes by environmental factors such as cigarette smoke and its constituents therefore represents a significant risk to a woman's reproductive capacity. Although evidence from human studies to date implicates a detrimental effect of cigarette smoking on female fertility, these retrospective studies are limited and present conflicting results. In an effort to more clearly understand the effect of cigarette smoke, and its chemical constituents, on female fertility, a variety of in vivo and in vitro animal models have been developed. This article represents a systematic review of the literature regarding four of experimental model types: 1) direct exposure of ovarian cells and follicles to smoking constituents’ in vitro, 2) direct exposure of whole ovarian tissue with smoking constituents in vitro, 3) whole body exposure of animals to smoking constituents and 4) whole body exposure of animals to cigarette smoke. We summarise key findings and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each model system, and link these to the molecular mechanisms identified in smoke-induced fertility changes.HighlightsIn vivo exposure to individual cigarette smoke chemicals alters female fertility.The use of in vitro models in determining molecular mechanismsWhole cigarette smoke inhalation animal models negatively affect ovarian function.

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