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Open access

Thomas Reinehr, Alexandra Kulle, Juliane Rothermel, Caroline Knop-Schmenn, Nina Lass, Christina Bosse, and Paul-Martin Holterhus


The underlying mechanisms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are not fully understood yet. The aim of the study was to get functional insights into the regulation of steroid hormones in PCOS by steroid metabolomics.


This is a longitudinal study of changes of steroid hormones in 40 obese girls aged 13–16 years (50% with PCOS) participating in a 1-year lifestyle intervention. Girls with and without PCOS were matched to age, BMI and change of weight status.


We measured progesterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, 17-hydroxyprogenolon, 11-deoxycorticosterone, 21-deoxycorticosterone, deoxycorticosterone, corticosterone, 11-deoxycortisol, cortisol, cortisone, androstenedione, testosterone, dehydroepiandrostendione-sulfate (DHEA-S), estrone and estradiol by LC–MS/MS steroid profiling at baseline and one year later.


At baseline, obese PCOS girls demonstrated significantly higher androstenedione and testosterone concentrations compared to obese girls without PCOS, whereas the other steroid hormones including glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, estrogens and precursors of androgens did not differ significantly. Weight loss in obese PCOS girls was associated with a significant decrease of testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA-S, cortisol and corticosterone concentrations. Weight loss in obese non-PCOS girls was associated with a significant decrease of DHEA-S, cortisol and corticosterone concentrations, whereas no significant changes of testosterone and androstenedione concentrations could be observed. Without weight loss, no significant changes of steroid hormones were measured except an increase of estradiol in obese PCOS girls without weight loss.


The key steroid hormones in obese adolescents with PCOS are androstenedione and testosterone, whereas glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, estrogens and precursors of androgens did not differ between obese girls with and without PCOS.

Open access

Luca Persani, Martine Cools, Stamatina Ioakim, S Faisal Ahmed, Silvia Andonova, Magdalena Avbelj-Stefanija, Federico Baronio, Jerome Bouligand, Hennie T Bruggenwirth, Justin H Davies, Elfride De Baere, Iveta Dzivite-Krisane, Paula Fernandez-Alvarez, Alexander Gheldof, Claudia Giavoli, Claus H Gravholt, Olaf Hiort, Paul-Martin Holterhus, Anders Juul, Csilla Krausz, Kristina Lagerstedt-Robinson, Ruth McGowan, Uta Neumann, Antonio Novelli, Xavier Peyrassol, Leonidas A Phylactou, Julia Rohayem, Philippe Touraine, Dineke Westra, Valeria Vezzoli, and Raffaella Rossetti

Differences of sex development and maturation (SDM) represent a heterogeneous puzzle of rare conditions with a large genetic component whose management and treatment could be improved by an accurate classification of underlying molecular conditions, and next-generation sequencing (NGS) should represent the most appropriate approach. Therefore, we conducted a survey dedicated to the use and potential outcomes of NGS for SDM disorders diagnosis among the 53 health care providers (HCP) of the European Reference Network for rare endocrine conditions. The response rate was 49% with a total of 26 HCPs from 13 countries. All HCPs, except 1, performed NGS investigations for SDM disorders on 6720 patients, 3764 (56%) with differences of sex development (DSD), including 811 unexplained primary ovarian insufficiency, and 2956 (44%) with congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH). The approaches varied from targeted analysis of custom gene panels (range: 11–490 genes) in 81.5% of cases or whole exome sequencing with the extraction of a virtual panel in the remaining cases. These analyses were performed for diagnostic purposes in 21 HCPs, supported by the National Health Systems in 16 cases. The likelihood of finding a variant ranged between 7 and 60%, mainly depending upon the number of analysed genes or criteria used for reporting, most HCPs also reporting variants of uncertain significance. These data illustrate the status of genetic diagnosis of DSD and CHH across Europe. In most countries, these analyses are performed for diagnostic purposes, yielding highly variable results, thus suggesting the need for harmonization and general improvements of NGS approaches.