Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Conditioned Media Regulate Steroidogenesis and Inhibit Androgen Secretion in a PCOS Cell Model via BMP-2

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Aug 25;22(17):9184. doi: 10.3390/ijms22179184.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women. Previous studies have demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-hMSCs) for PCOS; however, the regulatory mechanism remains unknown. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) secreted by BM-hMSCs may underlie the therapeutic effect of these cells on PCOS, based on the ability of BMPs to modulate androgen production and alter steroidogenesis pathway enzymes. In this study, we analyze the effect of BMP-2 on androgen production and steroidogenic pathway enzymes in H295R cells as a human PCOS in vitro cell model. In H295R cells, BMP-2 significantly suppressed cell proliferation, androgen production, and expression of androgen-synthesizing genes, as well as inflammatory gene expression. Furthermore, H295R cells treated with the BM-hMSCs secretome in the presence of neutralizing BMP-2 antibody or with BMP-2 gene knockdown showed augmented expression of androgen-producing genes. Taken together, these results indicate that BMP-2 is a key player mediating the favorable effects of the BM-hMSCs secretome in a human PCOS cell model. BMP-2 overexpression could increase the efficacy of BM-hMSC-based therapy, serving as a novel stem cell therapy for patients with intractable PCOS.

Keywords: bone morphogenetic protein; mesenchymal stem cells; polycystic ovary syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Androgens / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2 / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / pharmacology
  • Exocytosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Theca Cells / drug effects
  • Theca Cells / metabolism*
  • Theca Cells / physiology


  • Androgens
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2
  • Culture Media, Conditioned