Impact of disease activity and treatments on ovarian reserve in patients with rheumatoid arthritis in the ESPOIR cohort

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2021 Apr 6;60(4):1863-1870. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keaa535.


Objectives: Patients with RA have a higher prevalence of infertility than the general population. This study sought to examine the impact of RA disease activity and treatments on ovarian reserve measured by serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels in the ESPOIR cohort. We sought to better define the indications for fertility preservation.

Methods: Patients and serum analysis data were derived from the French national cohort ESPOIR. Enrolled patients (n = 102; 18-37-year-olds) fulfilled ACR/EULAR 2010 criteria for RA. Serum AMH levels were measured at T0, T6, T12, T24 and T36 months post-diagnosis. The impacts of RA activity (DAS28 and CRP level) and treatments (MTX only or with other medications) were evaluated at each study visit.

Results: A gradual decrease in patients' serum AMH levels was observed over time, in line with the descending curve described for healthy women. Serum AMH levels of RA patients in comparison with the values considered normal for age did not reveal any significant differences (P > 0.05). We did not observe any impact of RA treatments. We demonstrated an inverse correlation between AMH variation and disease activity (DAS28: r = -0.27, P = 0.003; CRP: r = -0.16, P = 0.06).

Conclusion: This is the first study to determine serum AMH levels of a large cohort of RA patients over 36 months. Rapid disease activity control appears to be required to limit changes in the ovarian reserve. Fertility preservation is not likely to be necessary if inflammation is promptly controlled. identifier: NCT03666091.

Keywords: AMH/DAS28; disease activity; fertility; inflammation; methotrexate; ovarian reserve; rheumatoid arthritis; woman.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone / blood
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Ovarian Reserve* / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone
  • Methotrexate

Associated data