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Alexandria P Snider and Jennifer R Wood

In the United States, 36.5% of women between the ages of 20 and 39 years are obese. This obesity results in not only metabolic disorders including type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but also impaired female fertility. Systemic and tissue-specific chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are common characteristics of obesity. This is also true in the ovary. Several studies have demonstrated that pro-inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species alter estrous cyclicity, steroidogenesis and ovulation. Inflammation and oxidative stress also impair meiotic and cytoplasmic maturation of the oocyte which reduces its developmental competence for fertilization and pre-implantation embryo development. Interestingly, there is recent evidence that obesity- and/or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-dependent changes to the gut microbiome contributes to ovarian inflammation, steroidogenesis and the expression of mRNAs in the oocyte. However, several gaps remain necessitating future studies to identify inflammation, oxidative stress and gut microbiome mechanisms that reduce ovarian function and oocyte quality.