Parallel variations of insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3) and antimüllerian hormone (AMH) in women with the polycystic ovary syndrome according to menstrual cycle pattern

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Oct;98(10):E1575-82. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-1107. Epub 2013 Aug 8.


Context: Antimüllerian hormone (AMH) and insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3) represent ovarian functional markers of granulosa and theca cells, respectively.

Objective: We conducted a prospective study to investigate AMH and INSL3 plasma levels in 3 groups of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) classified according to menstrual cyclicity pattern and their relationship with ovarian morphology and hormonal levels.

Design and participants: AMH and INSL3 were measured in a cohort of 57 patients with PCOS, divided into 3 groups according to menstrual status: eumenorrheic (PCOS-E, n = 15), oligomenorrheic (PCOS-O, n = 25), and amenorrheic (PCOS-A, n = 17). Clinical and endocrine characteristics and ovarian morphology were compared among the groups. Twenty-seven age- and weight-matched women without hyperandrogenism were included as controls.

Results: According to the menstrual pattern, the women with PCOS-A and PCOS-O had higher INSL3 levels with respect to the control women (P = .025 and P = .004, respectively) and higher but not significant INSL3 levels compared with those of the women with PCOS-E. AMH levels were significantly higher in women with PCOS-A and PCOS-O with respect to those in women with PCOS-E (P < .001 and P < .001, respectively) and control women (P < .001 and P < .001, respectively). Interestingly, a significant positive correlation was found between INSL3 and AMH blood levels in all women with PCOS (R = 0.43; P = .002) and across the groups (R = 0.41; P < .001).

Conclusions: INSL3 and AMH levels are significantly correlated with each other in women with PCOS, and they are significantly increased, particularly in the presence of amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea. INSL3 and AMH may reflect a dysfunction of PCOS thecal and granulosa cells, which are responsible for the increased androgen production and chronic anovulation of this condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / blood*
  • Amenorrhea / diagnostic imaging
  • Amenorrhea / physiopathology
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone / blood*
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Hirsutism / blood
  • Hirsutism / diagnostic imaging
  • Hirsutism / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperandrogenism / blood
  • Hyperandrogenism / diagnostic imaging
  • Hyperandrogenism / physiopathology
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Menstrual Cycle / blood*
  • Ovarian Follicle / diagnostic imaging
  • Ovarian Follicle / physiopathology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Proteins
  • Ultrasonography


  • Insulin
  • Leydig insulin-like protein
  • Proteins
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone