Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Inherently Genetic: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome


In the article “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome May Be Inherited Epigenetically” multiple studies have contributed to the finds concerning the generational effects of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). The affected population being women, go through infertility complications due to the hormonal disorder causing irregular menstrual cycles, elevated levels of testosterone, and enlarged ovaries with cysts. The disorder is often carried throughout generations and it is suspected that it is due to epigenetic mechanisms. The epigenetic mechanism in which a gene is regulated is basically any changes that occur in the organism by which there is a modification to how a gene is expressed, and does not alter the gene code sequence.

In a model, using the model organism such as the mouse, PCOS symptoms were seen across three generations. While the model expressed epigenetic mechanisms this had not yet proved that the same occurs in humans. Then in another experiment, pregnant mice were injected with a hormone known as AMH or anti-mullerian hormone which caused the resulting offspring to be part of smaller litters, having elevated testosterone levels and irregular menstrual cycles. When comparing the data from the model with the health of pregnant women there were indications that women with PCOS also showed high elevations of AMH  which was then transmitted to the fetus. As a result this became breaking through because it meant the PCOS like symptoms are passed down generationally. 

To further confirm if the syndrome is inherited epigenetically, looking at the third generation females with PCOS symptoms through a technique her genome was observed for its methylation pattern which told which genes are expressed or not. The result indicated that these females had low methylation levels for various genes that regulated metabolic and reproductive functions, insulin signaling and inflammation. Similarly, like these female mice women with PCOS also had a low level of methylation expressing gene Tet1. Tet1 deprivation  is hypothesized to be the cause of PCOS and influencing the way other genes are expressed. With all this new data, a serum called S-adenosylmethionine was injected into the female mice who expressed PCOS symptoms and were third generation and had shown improvement in a mere three weeks restoring ovulation and metabolic alterations. Because S-adenosylmethionine is an epigenetic drug and had a very accelerated impact on reversing symptoms in the mice I think the same could be possible for those women who have inherited PCOS. What can be done is to continue more studies and see when human testing is safe and ready to test to further prove the hypothesis of PCOS being epigenetically inherited amongst families

1 comment:

  1. I found your post to be very informative. I am also very hopeful about the implications of the study you described, as having a better understanding of what causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome allows for better treatments to be made. The treatments for PCOS conducted on mice thus far look exciting. Hopefully, these techniques can be applied to women who have PCOS and potentially cure if the condition or, at the very least, alleviate the symptoms.