Quantitative mass spectrometric analysis to unravel glycoproteomic signature of follicular fluid in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

PLoS One. 2019 Apr 4;14(4):e0214742. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214742. eCollection 2019.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex endocrinopathy affecting women of reproductive age, and whose etiology is not well understood yet. In these women, the follicular growth is arrested at preantral stage leading to cyst formation, consequently resulting in anovulatory infertility in these women. As the follicular fluid provides the conducive microenvironment for the growth of oocytes, molecular profiling of the fluid may provide unique information about pathophysiology associated with follicular development in PCOS. Post-translational addition of oligosaccharide residues is one of the many modifications of secreted proteins influencing their functions. These glycoproteins play a significant role in disease pathology. Despite glycoproteins having such essential functions, very limited information is available on their profiling in human reproductive system, and glycoproteomic profile of follicular fluid of women with PCOS is yet unexplored. In the present study, we performed a comparative glycoproteomic analysis of follicular fluid between women with PCOS and controls undergoing in vitro fertilization, by enrichment of glycoproteins using three different lectins viz. concanavalin A, wheat germ agglutinin and Jacalin. Peptides generated by trypsin digestion were labeled with isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification reagents and analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. We identified 10 differentially expressed glycoproteins, in the follicular fluid of women with PCOS compared to controls. Two important differentially expressed proteins- SERPINA1 and ITIH4, were consistently upregulated and downregulated respectively, upon validation by immunoblotting in follicular fluid and real-time polymerase chain reaction in granulosa cells. These proteins play a role in angiogenesis and extracellular matrix stabilization, vital for follicle maturation. In conclusion, a comparative glycoproteomic profiling of follicular fluid from women with PCOS and controls revealed an altered expression of proteins which may contribute to the defects in follicle development in PCOS pathophysiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follicular Fluid / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Ovarian Follicle / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Proteomics


  • Glycoproteins

Grant support

This work was supported by Grant BT/PR16524/MED/97/346/2016 (to SM) from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. We acknowledge necessary support from the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (RA/692/11-2018) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, India. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial assistance from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India to KP for pursuing her doctoral studies.