Scientists at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research have reported that a simple hormone imbalance could be the cause of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and could potentially be reversed with the use of a common IVF drug.
PCOS affects approximately 1 in 5 women worldwide and three quarters of women suffering will experience fertility problems. The condition is characterised by increased levels of testosterone, ovarian cysts, ovulation problems and irregular or infrequent menstrual cycles. It is by far the most common hormonal problem affecting women of reproductive age.
The study revealed that there could be a link between increased levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in pregnant women who have PCOS and likelihood of their children developing PCOS, suggesting that a prenatal exposure to increased levels of AMH may be an underlying cause of PCOS.
To test this, the scientists experimented by injecting pregnant mice with AMH and discovered that their offspring developed many of the characteristics associated with PCOS i.e. delayed puberty, infrequent ovulation, delays in falling pregnant and reduced number of offspring.
In an even more remarkable breakthrough, the scientists were able to reverse the effect in the mice using a common IVF drug, used routinely during a woman’s IVF treatment to control hormone levels.
Clinical trails are expected to begin within the next year and if successful, this revolutionary study could provide hope to women with PCOS who are suffering from fertility issues.