Overexpression of theca-cell messenger RNA in polycystic ovary syndrome does not correlate with polymorphisms in the cholesterol side-chain cleavage and 17alpha-hydroxylase/C(17-20) lyase promoters

Fertil Steril. 2002 Feb;77(2):274-80. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(01)02999-5.


Objective: To determine whether overexpression of CYP17 or CYP11A messenger (m)RNA in theca cells from polycystic ovaries is related to polymorphic regions in the gene promoters that may increase transcription.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: Research institute.

Patient(s): Fifty-one women with PCOS and 280 regularly cycling controls underwent genotyping. Thecal cells were obtained from 23 women with PCOS and 51 controls.

Main outcome measure(s): Ovarian tissue was obtained from women with PCOS undergoing wedge resection for treatment of their infertility and from controls undergoing ovariectomy for indications unrelated to the study. Expression of mRNA in theca cells was measured by using competitive reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Genotype analysis for polymorphisms in the CYP11A and CYP17 promoters was performed by using polymerase chain reaction.

Result(s): Although expression of CYP11A and CYP17 mRNA was higher in women with PCOS, no significant dose effects of CYP11A or CYP17 alleles were observed with respect to serum testosterone; follicular fluid androstenedione, estradiol, and androstenedione-to-estradiol ratio; or CYP11A or CYP17 mRNA expression.

Conclusion(s): Overexpression of CYP17 and CYP11A mRNA in theca cells from polycystic ovaries is explained by polymorphic differences in the gene promoters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Androstenedione / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholesterol Side-Chain Cleavage Enzyme / biosynthesis
  • Cholesterol Side-Chain Cleavage Enzyme / genetics*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Follicular Fluid / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / genetics*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / pathology
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Steroid 17-alpha-Hydroxylase / biosynthesis
  • Steroid 17-alpha-Hydroxylase / genetics
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Theca Cells / metabolism
  • Theca Cells / physiology*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Testosterone
  • Androstenedione
  • Estradiol
  • Steroid 17-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • Cholesterol Side-Chain Cleavage Enzyme