Premature ovarian failure (POF) is defined as cessation of menstruation and associated elevation of gonadotropin levels (FSH >40 IU/l) as a result of decreased ovarian function prior to the age of 40. An estimated 1% of the population is affected before age 40, with 0.1% affected prior to age 30. Although the causes for POF are many, the majority of POF cases have idiopathic etiologies. In an effort to investigate potential mechanisms of the disease, genetic determinants of POF have received particular attention in recent years. Transgenic mouse models have been instrumental in the discovery of novel genetic determinants of gonadal development and failure and have informed research identifying mutations in women with POF. Here, we review recent developments in identifying genetic determinants of POF.
(c) 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.