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J Electron Microsc (Tokyo). 2009 Jan;58(1):21-7. doi: 10.1093/jmicro/dfn032. Epub 2009 Jan 12.

Scanning electron and light microscopy study of the cervical mucus in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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Unidad de Reproducción y Desarrollo, Departamento de Ciencias Fisiológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Alameda B. O'Higgins 340, Chile.


Two types of cervical mucus are recognized, oestrogenic and gestagenic. These are constituted by different subtypes, and their characteristics change depending on variations in the hormonal levels and on the existence of several pathologies. Our aim was to identify the ultrastructure and crystallization characteristics of the cervical mucus in women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, and to compare these characteristics with those of normal control women. Cervical mucus samples were taken from 10 women, 4 control group women (with normal ovulatory menstrual cycles) and 6 suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (2 with ovulatory and 4 with anovulatory cycles). This mucus was characterized according to its ultrastructure and crystallization. The type of mucus obtained was related to the levels of oestradiol and progesterone present when the samples were taken. As regards mucus ultrastructure, differences were found between the control women and those with polycystic ovary syndrome and anovulatory menstrual cycles. Such variations were evident in the type of mesh and the average diameter of the mucus pores. Mucus crystallization in control women showed the usual oestrogenic disposition: fern-like (L, P2), rectilinear (S) or a hexagonal structure (P6). On the other hand, in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, indefinite mucus crystallizations were found, as well as crystallization patches resembling oestrogenic and gestagenic-like mucus. This study shows that the ultrastructure and crystallization characteristics of the cervical mucus in polycystic ovary syndrome women are different from those of control women. The latter would be dependent on their levels of oestradiol and progesterone.

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