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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Nov;83(11):3984-91.

Premature response to luteinizing hormone of granulosa cells from anovulatory women with polycystic ovary syndrome: relevance to mechanism of anovulation.

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Department of Reproductive Science and Medicine, Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common cause of anovulatory infertility. Anovulation in polycystic ovary syndrome is characterized by the failure of selection of a dominant follicle with arrest of follicle development at the 5-10 mm stage. In an attempt to elucidate the mechanism of anovulation associated with this disorder we have investigated at what follicle size human granulosa cells from normal and polycystic ovaries respond to LH. Granulosa cells were isolated from individual follicles from unstimulated human ovaries and cultured in vitro in serum-free medium 199 in the presence of LH or FSH. At the end of a 48-h incubation period, estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P) were determined in the granulosa cell-conditioned medium by RIA. In ovulatory subjects (with either normal ovaries or polycystic ovaries), granulosa cells responded to LH once follicles reached 9.5/10 mm. In contrast, granulosa cells from anovulatory women with polycystic ovaries responded to LH in smaller follicles of 4 mm. Granulosa cells from anovulatory women with polycystic ovaries were significantly more responsive to LH than granulosa cells from ovulatory women with normal ovaries or polycystic ovaries (E2, P < 0.0003; P, P < 0.03). The median (and range) fold increase in estradiol and progesterone production in response to LH in granulosa cell cultures from size-matched follicles 8 mm or smaller were E2, 1.0 (0.5-3.9) and P, 1.0 (0.3-2.5) in ovulatory women and E2, 1.4 (0.7-25.4) and P, 1.3 (0.3-7.0) in anovulatory women. Granulosa cells from anovulatory (but not ovulatory) women with polycystic ovaries prematurely respond to LH; this may be important in the mechanism of anovulation in this common endocrinopathy.

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