The aim of this study was to investigate the strategic role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the pathophysiology of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and to critically review the published trials that have evaluated VEGF in women with PCOS. An electronic database search of Medline, Embase, Cinahl and Cochrane library was conducted. Studies were included if they evaluated VEGF either in the circulation or in granulosa lutein cell culture media in in-vitro laboratory studies of women with a polycystic ovary (PCO) or PCOS. Studies analysing immunohistochemical expression of VEGF in PCO were also included. This review concluded that VEGF may have a strategic role in the pathophysiology of PCOS and is the key mediator in the pathogenesis of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in women undergoing assisted reproductive procedures. Its role is perhaps not singular and several other factors such as the bioavailability of its soluble receptor sFlt-1 and a multidisciplinary orchestration of other cytokines and growth factors may be involved in the pathophysiology of PCOS and OHSS.
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