Ovarian reserve alterations in premenopausal women with chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases: impact of rheumatoid arthritis, Behçet's disease and spondyloarthritis on anti-Müllerian hormone levels

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2015 Sep;54(9):1709-12. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kev124. Epub 2015 May 8.


Objective: Recent publications have shown a negative influence of SLE on female ovarian reserve. Other authors have not found a significant impact of Crohn's disease or early RA on anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels. This study aimed to investigate the potential effect of Behçet's disease (BD), RA and SpA on ovarian reserve as reflected by serum AMH levels.

Methods: Serum samples from 33 RA, 32 SpA and 30 BD patients without previous cytotoxic treatment were analysed and compared with age-matched, healthy controls. AMH was quantified using a standard ELISA with a standard value of 1-8 ng/ml; values <1 ng/ml defined a reduced ovarian reserve.

Results: Median age was 26, 28.5 and 33 years and median disease duration was 6, 5.9 and 7 years for RA, SpA and BD patients, respectively. Compared with healthy controls, patients had significantly reduced AMH levels, with a median value for RA of 1.8 ng/ml (control 2.4 ng/ml; P = 0.009), for SpA of 1.5 ng/ml (control 2.3 ng/ml; P = 0.013) and for BD of 1.1 ng/ml (control 1.9 ng/ml; P = 0.007). HLA-B27 had a negative influence on ovarian reserve in SpA patients, whereas other serological parameters did not in the other diseases.

Conclusion: This is the first study to show a reduced ovarian reserve in patients with RA, SpA or BD. Together with our findings in SLE, we conclude a negative influence of chronic rheumatic diseases on ovarian reserve.

Keywords: AMH; Behçet’s disease; fertility; ovarian reserve; rheumatoid arthritis; spondyloarthritis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone / blood*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Behcet Syndrome / blood*
  • Behcet Syndrome / complications
  • Behcet Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / blood
  • HLA-B51 Antigen / blood
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Reserve / physiology*
  • Ovary / physiopathology
  • Premenopause / physiology*
  • Rheumatoid Factor / blood
  • Spondylarthritis / blood*
  • Spondylarthritis / complications
  • Spondylarthritis / physiopathology


  • HLA-B27 Antigen
  • HLA-B51 Antigen
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone
  • Rheumatoid Factor