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Open access

Ladan Younesi, Zeinab Safarpour Lima, Azadeh Akbari Sene, Zahra Hosseini Jebelli, and Ghazaleh Amjad

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders. The aim of this study was to find the correlation between color Doppler ultrasound and serum tests as auxiliary diagnostic criteria in areas where there is no possibility of some tests. A total of 108 patients were enrolled. They were divided into three groups including patients with PCOS, patients with PCOA ultrasound, patients with ovaries and normal hormone tests. Transvaginal sonography was performed from three groups and the results were evaluated in gray scale. The volume of the ovary, the number of follicles and the placement of follicles were recorded using using Doppler spectrum of uterine artery and ovarian stroma. Their arterial resistance index was also calculated. In the next step, serum samples were evaluated to determine the level of LH, FSH, free testosterone, DHEAS and 17-OHP hormones in the early follicular phase. Gray scale ultrasonographic findings (volume and number of ovarian follicles) as well as LH values were higher in patients with PCOS than those in the other two groups. These results proved the reliability of using these factors in the prediction of PCOS. In this study, Doppler indexes did not correlate with the size of the ovaries, the number of ovarian follicles and the measured hormone levels. The findings of transvaginal ultrasound and investigating the relationship with clinical and laboratory outcomes, a more suitable pattern could be chosen for more accurate patient selection and, leading to timely treatment and reducing the complications of the disease.

Open access

Frederic Schrøder Arendrup, Severine Mazaud-Guittot, Bernard Jégou, and David Møbjerg Kristensen

Concern has been raised over chemical-induced disruption of ovary development during fetal life resulting in long-lasting consequences only manifesting themselves much later during adulthood. A growing body of evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to the mild analgesic acetaminophen/paracetamol can cause such a scenario. Therefore, in this review, we discuss three recent reports that collectively indicate that prenatal exposure in a period of 13.5 days post coitum in both rats and mouse can result in reduced female reproductive health. The combined data show that the exposure results in the reduction of primordial follicles, irregular menstrual cycle, premature absence of corpus luteum, as well as reduced fertility, resembling premature ovarian insufficiency syndrome in humans that is linked to premature menopause. This could especially affect the Western parts of the world, where the age for childbirth is continuously being increased and acetaminophen is recommended during pregnancy for pain and fever. We therefore highlight an urgent need for more studies to verify these data including both experimental and epidemiological approaches.

Open access

Nicolás Crisosto, Bárbara Echiburú, Manuel Maliqueo, Marta Luchsinger, Pedro Rojas, Sergio Recabarren, and Teresa Sir-Petermann

Context

Intrauterine life may be implicated in the origin of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) modifying the endocrine and metabolic functions of children born to PCOS mothers independently of the genetic inheritance and gender. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the reproductive and metabolic functions in sons of women with PCOS during puberty.

Methods

Sixty-nine PCOS sons (PCOSs) and 84 control sons of 7–18 years old matched by the Tanner stage score were studied. A complete physical examination was conducted including anthropometric measurements (weight, height, waist, hip and body mass index). An oral glucose tolerance test was performed and circulating concentrations of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), sex hormone-binding globulin, testosterone, androstenedione (A4), 17α-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) and AMH were determined in the fasting sample.

Results

Waist-to-hip ratio, FSH and androstenedione levels were significantly higher in the PCOSs group compared to control boys during the Tanner stage II–III. In Tanner stages II–III and IV–V, PCOSs showed significantly higher total cholesterol and LDL levels. Propensity score analysis showed that higher LDL levels were attributable to the PCOSs condition and not to other metabolic factors. AMH levels were comparable during all stages. The rest of the parameters were comparable between both groups.

Conclusions

Sons of women with PCOS show increased total cholesterol and LDL levels during puberty, which may represent latent insulin resistance. Thus, this is a group that should be followed and studied looking for further features of insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk markers. Reproductive markers, on the other hand, are very similar to controls.

Open access

Lian Hollander-Cohen, Benjamin Böhm, Krist Hausken, and Berta Levavi-Sivan

The pituitary gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), are the principle endocrine drivers of reproductive processes in the gonads of jawed vertebrates. Canonically, FSH recruits and maintains selected ovarian follicles for maturation and LH induces the stages of germinal vesicle breakdown and ovulation. In mammals, LH and FSH specifically activate cognate G-protein-coupled receptors that affect the proteins involved in steroidogenesis, protein hormone synthesis, and gametogenesis. This dual-gonadotropin model also exists in some fish species, but not in all. In fact, due to their diverse number of species, extended number of ecological niches, and remarkably flexible reproductive strategies, fish are appropriate as models to understand the co-evolution of gonadotropins and their receptors. In this study, we cloned and characterized the expression profile over the final stages of ovarian maturation of carp (Cyprinus carpio) LHCGR and FSHR. Expression of both gonadotropin receptors increased in the later stage of early vitellogenesis, suggesting that both LH and FSH play a role in the development of mature follicles. We additionally tested the activation of cLHCGR and cFSHR using homologous and heterologous recombinant gonadotropins in order to gain insight into an evolutionary model of permissive gonadotropin receptor function. These data suggest that carp (Cyprinus carpio) gonad development and maturation depends on a specific gonadotropin profile that does not reflect the temporally distinct dual-gonadotropin model observed in salmonids or mammals, and that permissive gonadotropin receptor activation is a specific feature of Ostariophysi, not all teleosts.

Open access

Angela Köninger, Philippos Edimiris, Laura Koch, Antje Enekwe, Claudia Lamina, Sabine Kasimir-Bauer, Rainer Kimmig, and Hans Dieplinger

Oxidative stress seems to be present in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between characteristics of PCOS and serum concentrations of afamin, a novel binding protein for the antioxidant vitamin E. A total of 85 patients with PCOS and 76 control subjects were investigated in a pilot cross-sectional study design between 2009 and 2013 in the University Hospital of Essen, Germany. Patients with PCOS were diagnosed according to the Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group. Afamin and diagnostic parameters of PCOS were determined at early follicular phase. Afamin concentrations were significantly higher in patients with PCOS than in controls (odds ratio (OR) for a 10 mg/ml increase in afamin=1.3, 95% CI=1.08–1.58). This difference vanished in a model adjusting for age, BMI, free testosterone index (FTI), and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) (OR=1.05, 95% CI=0.80–1.38). In patients with PCOS, afamin correlated significantly with homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), fasting glucose, BMI, FTI, and SHBG (P<0.001), but in a multivariate linear model, only HOMA-IR remained significantly associated with afamin (P=0.001). No correlation was observed between afamin and androgens, LH, FSH, LH/FSH ratio, antral follicle count, ovarian volume, or anti-Müllerian hormone. In conclusion, elevated afamin values may indicate a state of oxidative stress and inflammation, strongly associated with IR and offering an indicator of impaired glucose tolerance in patients with PCOS irrespective of obesity.

Open access

David Mark Robertson, Chel Hee Lee, and Angela Baerwald

It is recognised that ovarian factors, including steroid and protein hormones, are critical in the feedback regulation of pituitary gonadotropins; however, their individual contributions are less defined. The aim of this study was to explore the reciprocal relationships between ovarian and pituitary hormones across the normal ovulatory menstrual cycle as women age. FSH, LH, oestradiol, progesterone, inhibin A, inhibin B and anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) were measured in serum collected every 1–3 days across one interovulatory interval (IOI) from 26 healthy women aged 18–50 years. The antral follicle count (AFC) for follicles 2–5 mm, >6 mm and 2–10 mm were tabulated across the IOI. Independent associations between ovarian hormones/AFC vs pituitary follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) were investigated using multivariate regression analysis. The data were sub-grouped based on the presence or absence luteal phase-dominant follicles (LPDF). Serum oestradiol and AMH were inversely correlated with FSH in both follicular and luteal phases. Inhibin B correlated inversely with FSH and LH in the late follicular phase and directly in the luteal phase. AFC, inhibin A and progesterone were not key predictors of either FSH or LH. The strong association between AMH and FSH with age implies that AMH, as well as oestradiol and inhibin B are important regulators of FSH. The change in feedback response of inhibin B with both FSH and LH across the cycle suggests two phases of the negative feedback.

Open access

Mikkel Andreassen, Anders Juul, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen, and Niels Jørgensen

Objective

Gonadotropins (luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)) are released from the pituitary gland and stimulate Leydig cells to produce testosterone and initiates spermatogenesis. Little is known about how and when the deterioration of semen quality occurs in patients with adult-onset gonadotropin insufficiency.

Design and methods

A retrospective study comprising 20 testosterone-deficient men (median age, 29 years) with acquired pituitary disease who delivered semen for cryopreservation before initiation of testosterone therapy. Semen variables and hormone concentrations were compared to those of young healthy men (n = 340).

Results

Thirteen of 20 patients (65%) and 82% of controls had total sperm counts above 39 million and progressive motile spermatozoa above 32% (P = 0.05). For the individual semen variables, there were no significant differences in semen volume (median (intraquartile range) 3.0 (1.3–6.8) vs 3.2 (2.3–4.3) mL, P = 0.47), sperm concentration 41 (11–71) vs 43 (22–73) mill/mL (P = 0.56) or total sperm counts (P = 0.66). One patient had azoospermia. Patients vs controls had lower serum testosterone 5.4 (2.2–7.6) vs 19.7 (15.5–24.5) nmol/L (P = 0.001), calculated free testosterone (cfT) 145 (56–183) vs 464 (359–574) pmol/L (P < 0.001), LH 1.5 (1.1–2.1) vs 3.1 (2.3–4.0) U/L (P = 0.002) and inhibin b (P < 0.001). Levels of FSH were similar (P = 0.63). Testosterone/LH ratio and cfT/LH ratio were reduced in patients (both P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Despite Leydig cell insufficiency in patients with acquired pituitary insufficiency, the majority presented with normal semen quality based on the determination of the number of progressively motile spermatozoa. In addition, the data suggest reduced LH bioactivity in patients with pituitary insufficiency.

Open access

M Jensterle, A Podbregar, K Goricar, N Gregoric, and A Janez

Lifestyle measures (LSMs) should be the first-line approach offered for obesity-related functional hypogonadism (FH). When LSMs fail, the role of testosterone replacement treatment (TRT) is unclear. GLP1 receptor agonist liraglutide is linked to progressive and sustained weight loss. A potential direct impact of GLP1 on hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular (HPT) axis was reported in animal models. We aimed to compare the effects of liraglutide and TRT on FH in obese men that had been poor responders to LSM, by means of reversal of FH and weight reduction. We designed a 16-week prospective randomized open-label study with 30 men (aged 46.5 ± 10.9 years, BMI 41.2 ± 8.4 kg/m2, mean ± s.d.) that were randomized to liraglutide 3.0 mg QD (LIRA) or 50 mg of 1% transdermal gel QD (TRT). Sexual function and anthropometric measures were assessed. Fasting blood was drawn for determination of endocrine and metabolic parameters followed by OGTT. Model-derived parameters including HOMAIR and calculated free testosterone (cFT) were calculated. Total testosterone significantly increased in both arms (+5.9 ± 7.2 in TRT vs +2.6 ± 3.5 nmol/L in LIRA) and led to improved sexual function. LIRA resulted in a significant increase of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (P < 0.001 for between-treatment effect). Subjects treated with LIRA lost on average 7.9 ± 3.8  kg compared with a 0.9 ± 4.5  kg loss in TRT (P < 0.001). Metabolic syndrome was resolved in two patients in LIRA and in no subjects in TRT. Liraglutide was superior to TRT in improving an overall health benefit in men with obesity-associated FH after LSM failed.

Open access

Arpna Sharma, Vijay Simha Baddela, Frank Becker, Dirk Dannenberger, Torsten Viergutz, and Jens Vanselow

High-yielding dairy cows postpartum face the challenge of negative energy balance leading to elevated free fatty acids levels in the serum and follicular fluid thus affecting the ovarian function. Here, we investigated effects of physiological concentrations of palmitic acid (PA), stearic acid (SA) and oleic acid (OA) on the viability, steroid production and gene expression in a bovine granulosa cell (GC) culture model. Treatment with individual and combined fatty acids increased the CD36 gene expression, while no significant apoptotic effects were observed. Both PA and SA significantly upregulated the expression of FSHR, LHCGR, CYP19A1, HSD3B1, CCND2 and increased 17β-estradiol (E2) production, while OA downregulated the expression of these genes and reduced E2. Interestingly, STAR was equally downregulated by all fatty acids and combination treatment. E2 was significantly reduced after combination treatment. To validate the effects of OA, in vivo growing dominant follicles (10–19 mm) were injected with bovine serum albumin (BSA) with/without conjugated OA. The follicular fluid was recovered 48 h post injection. As in our in vitro model, OA significantly reduced intrafollicular E2 concentrations. In addition, expression of CD36 was significantly up- and that of CYP19A1 and STAR significantly downregulated in antral GC recovered from aspirated follicles. The ovulation rates of OA-injected follicles tended to be reduced. Our results indicate that elevated free fatty acid concentrations specifically target functional key genes in GC both in vitro and in vivo. Suggestively, this could be a possible mechanism through which elevated free fatty acids affect folliculogenesis in dairy cows postpartum.

Open access

Katica Bajuk Studen and Marija Pfeifer

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common disorder in women of reproductive age. Besides hyperandrogenism, oligomenorrhea and fertility issues, it is associated with a high prevalence of metabolic disorders and cardiovascular risk factors. Several genetic polymorphisms have been identified for possible associations with cardiometabolic derangements in PCOS. Different PCOS phenotypes differ significantly in their cardiometabolic risk, which worsens with severity of androgen excess. Due to methodological difficulties, longer time-scale data about cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in PCOS and about possible beneficial effects of different treatment interventions is missing leaving many issues regarding cardiovascular risk unresolved.