Last updated on February 2018

Ovarian Response to Recombinant Follicle Stimulating Hormone in Women With PCOS

Brief description of study

Women with PCOS suffer from anovulation and, as a result, infertility. Efforts to clinically induce ovulation in these women using follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) administered subcutaneously seemingly requires prolonged administration compared to that of ovulatory women without PCOS. The apparent differing ovarian responsiveness to FSH between PCOS and normal women has not been carefully studied. We propose to address this issue by performing a dose-response study and examine ovarian follicle (estrogen, E2) responses to FSH administered subcutaneously in women with PCOS compared to responses observed in normal women.

Detailed Study Description

In women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) androgen excess is fundamental to the clinical and physiological alterations of this disorder. In particular, androgen overproduction induces distinctive PCO morphology and appears to influence follicle function. Studies conducted in animals and nonhuman primates have demonstrated that androgens increase follicle number and in small antral follicles enhance granulosa cell (GC) responsiveness to gonadotropin stimulation. However, androgens also have been shown to clearly inhibit GC aromatase activity, and in PCOS follicular fluid, androgen content is abnormally increased. Efforts to reconcile these differences are nonexistent. Moreover, appropriate clinical studies to examine the effects of androgen on follicle health in women are lacking. Excessive androgen exposure in women due to functional tumors or high-dose testosterone treatment in F-M transsexuals has been associated with PCO morphology. Use of androgen therapy to promote follicle growth prior to ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization has not provided consistent results. However, in these studies GC responses to FSH were not carefully assessed, study populations were exclusively women with previously poor ovarian responses to FSH, and women with PCOS were not included. In fact, there are essentially no clinical studies that have addressed in detail the impact of androgen on follicle function in normal or PCOS women. We hypothesize that androgen facilitates GC responses to FSH in normal women and androgen excess further amplifies follicle growth and function in women with PCOS. We propose to study the effect of increased ovarian androgen on follicle function by increasing intraovarian androgen accumulation using aromatase inhibition followed by FSH stimulation. The experiments in this project are designed to provide insight into whether androgen excess facilitates or interferes with follicle function and ovulation in women with PCOS.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03252223

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R. Jeffrey Chang, MD

University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA United States
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