Aberrant activation of the Hedgehog signaling pathway in granulosa cells from patients with polycystic ovary syndrome

Bioengineered. 2021 Dec;12(2):12123-12134. doi: 10.1080/21655979.2021.2003943.


The molecular mechanism that triggers polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is mysterious. Abnormal development of ovarian granulosa cells (GCs) is one of the causes of PCOS. Herein, our study was carried out using RNA-seq to detect the different gene expression levels in ovarian GCs between three patients with PCOS and four normal controls. To verify the RNA-seq data, GCs from 22 patients with PCOS and 21 controls with normal ovulation were collected to perform the RT-PCR analysis. Hedgehog signaling pathway (Hh) members, Ihh and Ptch2 were abnormally highly expressed in the PCOS tissue (PT). The qPCR also indicated that the expression levels of Hh signaling pathway downstream members, Ptch1, Gli1, and Gli2 in the PT were significantly higher than those in the normal tissue (NT). Besides, the expression of TNF-α mRNA in PCOS patients was higher than that in the control group. Through the chromatin immunoprecipitation assay (ChIP), we found that the Gli1-IP-DNA enriched from the granular cells of PCOS patients was higher than that of the control group. Finally, the Hh signaling pathway inhibitor, cyclopamine, can decrease the apoptosis of PCOS ovarian granulosa cells. These results suggest that abnormal activation of Hh signaling pathway, especially Ihh signal, may have a profound influence on PCOS.

Keywords: Gli; Ihh; PCOS; Ptch2; hedgehog.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't