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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Oct;94(10):3816-23. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-0817. Epub 2009 Jul 21.

Primary ovarian insufficiency due to steroidogenic cell autoimmunity is associated with a preserved pool of functioning follicles.

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  • 1Mother-Infant Department, Section of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41100 Modena, Italy.



Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is defined as hypergonadotropic amenorrhea before the age of 40 yr. In 4-5% of patients with POI, an ovarian autoimmune process is present.


Serum concentrations of antimüllerian hormone (AMH) have been determined in 26 women with POI due to steroidogenic cell autoimmunity (SCA-POI), 66 with nonautoimmune idiopathic POI (iPOI), 40 postmenopausal women (PMW), and 44 healthy fertile women (HW). SCA-POI was diagnosed according to presence of steroidogenic enzyme autoantibodies (17alpha-hydroxylase, side chain cleavage, and 21-hydroxylase autoantibodies).


AMH concentrations were significantly higher in women with SCA-POI than women with iPOI (P = 0.018) or PMW (P = 0.03) but significantly lower than HW (P < 0.0001). AMH was detected in 11 of 26 women with SCA-POI (42%) and seven of 66 with iPOI (11%) (P = 0.002). Serum concentrations above the fifth percentile of the normal range (0.6 ng/ml) were detected in nine of 26 women with SCA-POI (35%) and four of 66 with iPOI (6%) (P = 0.001). Eight of 12 women with SCA-POI with less than 5 yr (67%) and one of 14 with longer disease duration (7%) had AMH concentrations within the normal range (P = 0.003). AMH concentrations correlated inversely with disease duration in women with SCA-POI (rho = -0.563, P = 0.003) but not women with iPOI. AMH correlated inversely with FSH serum concentrations in HW (rho = -0.584, P < 0.001) but not PMW or women with POI.


Two thirds of women with recent-onset SCA-POI had normal AMH concentrations. Women with SCA-POI, differently from those with iPOI, present a preserved ovarian follicle pool for several years after diagnosis of ovarian insufficiency.

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