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Reproduction. 2010 May;139(5):825-33. doi: 10.1530/REP-09-0415. Epub 2010 Mar 5.

Anti-Müllerian hormone and polycystic ovary syndrome: a mountain too high?

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Basic Medical Sciences, St George's, University of London, Cramner Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK.


Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) was initially thought to be produced solely by the foetal male during sexual differentiation to promote regression of the Müllerian ducts. Over the last decade, however, a new and interesting role has emerged for AMH in the ovary. In human ovaries, AMH is produced by granulosa cells from 36 weeks of gestation until menopause, with the highest expression being in small antral follicles. AMH production gradually declines as follicles grow; once follicles reach a size at which they are dominant, it has largely disappeared. Its removal from these larger follicles appears to be an important requirement for dominant follicle selection and progression to ovulation as AMH has an inhibitory role in the ovary, reducing both primordial follicle initiation and follicle sensitivity to FSH by inhibition of aromatase. It is for this reason that AMH is a focus of interest in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Serum levels are doubled, and granulosa cell production is greatly increased. Interestingly, there appear to be two groups of women with PCOS who can be distinguished by their AMH level: one group consists of those who have high levels which do not reduce with treatment and who respond less well to induction of ovulation, and a second group consists of those in whom the level is less elevated and reduces on treatment and who seem to respond rather better. Understanding the reason for the raised AMH in PCOS may give clues as to the mechanism of anovulation. To conclude, AMH appears to have a major inhibitory role during folliculogenesis, which may contribute to anovulation in PCOS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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