Journal of the Endocrine Society Journal Article

Pathogenesis of PCOS in a Mouse Model

June 21, 2021
 

Valentina Rodriguez Paris, Melissa C Edwards, Ali Aflatounian, Michael J Bertoldo, William L Ledger, David J Handelsman, Robert B Gilchrist, Kirsty A Walters
Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 5, Issue 6, June 2021, bvab060
https://doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvab060

Abstract

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common and heterogeneous disorder; however, the etiology and pathogenesis of PCOS are poorly understood and current management is symptom-based. Defining the pathogenesis of PCOS traits is important for developing early PCOS detection markers and new treatment strategies. Hyperandrogenism is a defining characteristic of PCOS, and studies support a role for androgen-driven actions in the development of PCOS. Therefore, we aimed to determine the temporal pattern of development of PCOS features in a well-characterized dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-induced PCOS mouse model after 2, 4, and 8 weeks of DHT exposure. Following 2 weeks of treatment, DHT induced the key PCOS reproductive features of acyclicity, anovulation, and multifollicular ovaries as well as a decrease in large antral follicle health. DHT-treated mice displayed the metabolic PCOS characteristics of increased body weight and exhibited increased visceral adiposity after 8 weeks of DHT treatment. DHT treatment also led to an increase in circulating cholesterol after 2 weeks of exposure and had an overall effect on fasting glucose levels, but not triglycerides, aspartate transaminase (AST) and alanine transaminase (ALT) levels, or hepatic steatosis. These data reveal that in this experimental PCOS mouse model, acyclicity, anovulation, and increased body weight are early features of a developing PCOS phenotype whereas adiposity, impaired glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia, and hepatic steatosis are later developing features of PCOS. These findings provide insights into the likely sequence of PCOS trait development and support the addition of body weight criteria to the early diagnosis of PCOS.

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