Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects one in five women however it can have life changing effects. Now, researchers believe that they have found what really causes the condition.
Scientists at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research measured levels of the hormone in a cohort of pregnant women with and without PCOS. The researchers dosed pregnant mice with high levels of AMH, and found it caused them to have symptoms of PCOS including irregular menstruation, fertility issues, and late puberty.
Researchers injected AMH into the pregnant mice, and as the offsprings grew up, they saw that they had many PCOS symptoms, incorporating infrequent ovulation and delays in the falling pregnancy. As their female offspring grew up, they displayed numerous hallmarks of polycystic ovary syndrome, including later puberty, infrequent ovulation, delays in falling pregnant, and fewer offspring.
Though PCOS is known to run in families - and there is research on the genetics behind it - Rob Norman, a professor at Australia's University of Adelaide studying reproductive medicine, told New Scientist that "it's something we've been stuck on for a long time".
The polycystic mice were given an IVF drug called cetrorelix and it miraculously made the symptoms go away.
Amazingly, when the mice with PCOS were treated with cetrorelix, they stopped exhibiting the symptoms of the condition. Dr. Paolo Giacobini, head scientist of this study, and his team hope to start human trials by the end of the year. This way, normal ovulation may be restored, and pregnancy rates in these women may rise.
The study has been called "radical" and proposes an "attractive strategy" for boosting fertility in women with the condition, which makes it hard to get pregnant.
It is marked by a group of symptoms that affect the process of ovulation, but its main features are the presence of growths in the ovary, high levels of male hormones, and irregular or skipped menstrual periods.
Polycystic ovaries - the ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) which surround the eggs (it's important to note that, despite the name, if you have PCOS you don't actually have cysts).
PCOS affects between 2.2 and 26.7 percent of women in their childbearing years.
Professor Norman added that the link to the anti-Müllerian hormone could explain why women with PCOS seem to be more likely to get pregnant as they get older.
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