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. 2017 Mar;167:144-152.
doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2016.12.004. Epub 2016 Dec 16.

New PCOS-like Phenotype in Older Infertile Women of Likely Autoimmune Adrenal Etiology With High AMH but Low Androgens

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New PCOS-like Phenotype in Older Infertile Women of Likely Autoimmune Adrenal Etiology With High AMH but Low Androgens

Norbert Gleicher et al. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. .

Abstract

How anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and testosterone (T) interrelate in infertile women is currently largely unknown. We, therefore, in a retrospective cohort study investigated how infertile women with high-AMH (AMH ≥75th quantile; n=144) and with normal-AMH (25th-75th quantile; n=313), stratified for low-T (total testosterone ≤19.0ng/dL), normal-T (19.0-29.0ng/dL) and high-T (>29.0ng/dL) phenotypically behaved. Patient age, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), dehyroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulphate (DHEAS), cortisol (C), adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), IVF outcomes, as well as inflammatory and immune panels were then compared between groups, with AMH and T as variables. We identified a previously unknown infertile PCOS-like phenotype, characterized by high-AMH but, atypically, low-T, with predisposition toward autoimmunity. It presents with incompatible high-AMH and low-T (<19.0ng/dL), is restricted to lean PCOS-like patients, presenting delayed for tertiary fertility services. Since also characterized by low DHEAS, low-T is likely of adrenal origina, and consequence of autoimmune adrenal insufficiency since also accompanied by low-C and evidence of autoimmunity. DHEA supplementation in such patients equalizes low- to normal-T and normalizes IVF cycle outcomes. Once recognized, this high-AMH/low-T phenotype is surprisingly common in tertiary fertility centers but, currently, goes unrecognized. Its likely adrenal autoimmune etiology offers interesting new directions for investigations of adrenals control over ovarian function via adrenal androgen production.

Keywords: Adrenal insufficiency (AI); Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH); Functional ovarian reserve (FOR); In vitro fertilization (IVF); Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); Testosterone.

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