Premature ovarian insufficiency: a review on the role of oxidative stress and the application of antioxidants

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2023 Aug 1:14:1172481. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2023.1172481. eCollection 2023.


Normal levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role in regulating follicular growth, angiogenesis and sex hormone synthesis in ovarian tissue. When the balance between ROS and antioxidants is disrupted, however, it can cause serious consequences of oxidative stress (OS), and the quantity and quality of oocytes will decline. Therefore, this review discusses the interrelationship between OS and premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), the potential mechanisms and the methods by which antioxidants can improve POI through controlling the level of OS. We found that OS can mediate changes in genetic materials, signal pathways, transcription factors and ovarian microenvironment, resulting in abnormal apoptosis of ovarian granulosa cells (GCs) and abnormal meiosis as well as decreased mitochondrial Deoxyribonucleic Acid(mtDNA) and other changes, thus accelerating the process of ovarian aging. However, antioxidants, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), biological enzymes and other antioxidants can delay the disease process of POI by reducing the ROS level in vivo.

Keywords: aging and oocyte; antioxidant; mitochondrial dysfunction; oxidative stress; premature ovarian insufficiency.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause, Premature*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency* / drug therapy
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • DNA, Mitochondrial

Grants and funding

The National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 82074259), the Project of Cultivation Project of Outstanding Youth Fund of Heilongjiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (grant no. 2018jc02), “Outstanding Young Academic Leaders” Scientific Research Project of Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine; Special project on the popularization of traditional Chinese medicine classics in Heilongjiang Province (ZYW2022-100).