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J Histochem Cytochem. 2010 Oct;58(10):903-15. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2010.956615.

Fibrillins in adult human ovary and polycystic ovary syndrome: is fibrillin-3 affected in PCOS?

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Department of Pathology, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrinopathy in women of reproductive age. Although genetic linkage analyses have demonstrated a susceptibility locus for PCOS mapping to the fibrillin-3 gene, the presence of fibrillin proteins in normal and polycystic ovaries has not been characterized. This study compared and contrasted fibrillin-1, -2, and -3 localization in normal and polycystic ovaries. Immunohistochemical stainings of ovaries from 21 controls and 9 patients with PCOS were performed. Fibrillin-1 was ubiquitous in ovarian connective tissue. Fibrillin-2 localized around antral follicles and in areas of folliculolysis. Fibrillin-3 was present in a restricted distribution within the specialized perifollicular stroma of follicles in morphological transition from primordial to primary type [transitional follicles (TFs)]. Fibrillin-1 and -2 stainings of PCOS ovaries were similar to those of the controls. However, in eight of the nine PCOS ovaries, there was a decrease in the number of TFs associated with fibrillin-3, including no staining in five PCOS samples; decreased number of fibrillin-3-associated TFs/mm(2) was confirmed by quantitative analysis. Our findings support a role for fibrillin-3 in the pathogenesis of PCOS and suggest fibrillin-3 may function in primordial to primary follicle transition. We propose that loss of fibrillin-3 during folliculogenesis may be an important factor in PCOS pathogenesis.

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