Animal Models to Understand the Etiology and Pathophysiology of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Endocr Rev. 2020 Jul 1;41(4):bnaa010. doi: 10.1210/endrev/bnaa010.


More than 1 out of 10 women worldwide are diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the leading cause of female reproductive and metabolic dysfunction. Despite its high prevalence, PCOS and its accompanying morbidities are likely underdiagnosed, averaging > 2 years and 3 physicians before women are diagnosed. Although it has been intensively researched, the underlying cause(s) of PCOS have yet to be defined. In order to understand PCOS pathophysiology, its developmental origins, and how to predict and prevent PCOS onset, there is an urgent need for safe and effective markers and treatments. In this review, we detail which animal models are more suitable for contributing to our understanding of the etiology and pathophysiology of PCOS. We summarize and highlight advantages and limitations of hormonal or genetic manipulation of animal models, as well as of naturally occurring PCOS-like females.

Keywords: adipogenic constraint-induced lipotoxicity; androgen excess; developmental programming; genetic manipulation; naturally hyperandrogenic female monkeys; therapeutic prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / etiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / physiopathology