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    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common form of anovulatory infertility with a strong hereditary component but no candidate genes have been found. The inheritance pattern may be due to in utero androgen programming on gene expression and mitochondria. Mitochondria are maternally inherited and alterations to mitochondria after fetal androgen exposure may explain one of the mechanisms of fetal programming in PCOS. Our aim was to investigate the role of excessive prenatal androgens in ovarian development by identifying how hyperandrogenemia affects gene expression and mitochondria in neonatal ovary. Pregnant dams were injected with dihydrotestosterone on days 16-18 of pregnancy. Day 0 ovaries were collected for gene expression and mitochondrial studies. RNAseq showed differential gene expressions which were related to mitochondrial dysfunction, fetal gonadal development, oocyte maturation, metabolism, angiogenesis, and PCOS. Top 20 up and downregulated genes were validated with qPCR and Western Blot. Transcriptional pathways involved in folliculogenesis and genes involved in ovarian and mitochondrial function were dysregulated. Further, DHT exposure altered mitochondrial ultrastructure and function by increasing mitochondrial oxygen consumption and decreasing mitochondrial efficiency with increased proton leak within the first day of life. Our data indicates that one path that leads to PCOS begins at birth and is programmed in utero by androgens. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Maya Barsky, Jamie Merkison, Pardis Hosseinzadeh, Liubin Yang, Janet Bruno-Gaston, Jay Dunn, William Gibbons, Chellakkan Selvanesan Blesson. Fetal programming of polycystic ovary syndrome: Effects of androgen exposure on prenatal ovarian development. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology. 2021 Mar;207:105830

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    PMID: 33515680

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