Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the commonest endocrine abnormality in women of reproductive age typically presenting with chronic oligo- or anovulation, clinical, or biochemical hyperandrogenism and polycystic ovarian morphology (PCOM). Restoring mono-ovulation is the ultimate goal of ovulation induction and most women do respond to ovulation inducing agents causing their Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels to rise. Familial clustering and the results from twin studies strongly support an underlying genetic basis for PCOS. Recent Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several genetic variants being genome wide significantly associated with PCOS. Amongst those are variants in or near the Luteinizing hormone (LH) and FSH receptor genes as well as a variant in the FSH-β gene. The aim of this review is to summarize the available evidence as to whether single nucleotide polymorphisms are able to modify the PCOS phenotype or whether they constitute a risk factor for the syndrome. Data on the role of FSHR polymorphisms in PCOS are conflicting. It seems that in large Chinese studies FSHR polymorphisms are not associated with either PCOS risk or with PCOS treatment outcome. However, in large scale studies in Caucasians these polymorphisms seem to influence the risk of having PCOS. Moreover, these studies also showed that some polymorphisms might affect some clinical features of PCOS as well as treatment outcome. Although most research has focussed on the role of FSHR polymorphisms there seems to be also some evidence showing that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the LHCG-Receptor as well as those in FSH-β gene might also alter the phenotype of PCOS. In conclusion most studies confirm that FSHR polymorphisms do alter the phenotype of PCOS in that they either alter the response to exogenous FSH or hat they increase the risk of having PCOS.
Keywords: FSH; LH; PCOS; polymorphisms; testosterone.