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Anne-Laure Barbotin, Caroline Ballot, Julien Sigala, Nassima Ramdane, Alain Duhamel, François Marcelli, Jean-Marc Rigot, Didier Dewailly, Pascal Pigny and Valerie Mitchell

Objective

Although an inhibin B assay may be useful in the assessment of testicular function in a number of genital conditions, reliable reference ranges are still lacking. The present study sought to establish the reference range for serum inhibin B by applying the updated Gen II assay.

Design

This prospective study included 818 men referred for semen analysis: 377 were normozoospermic (reference group) and 441 presented at least one abnormal semen parameter (case group).

Methods

Semen parameters were interpreted according to the 2010 World Health Organization manual and David's modified classification for normal morphology. The inhibin B concentration was determined with the current ELISA.

Results

In the reference group, the 2.5th percentile for inhibin B was 92 pg/ml and the 97.5th percentile for FSH was 7.8 IU/l. In the overall population, an inhibin B level <92 pg/ml was associated with increased odds ratio (OR; 95% CI) for oligozoospermia (16.93 (9.82–29.18), P<0.0001), asthenozoospermia (4.87 (2.88–8.10), P<0.0001), and teratozoospermia (2.20 (1.31–3.68), P=0.0026). The combination of a FSH >7.8 IU/l and an inhibin B <92 pg/ml was associated with greater OR for oligozoospermia (98.74 (23.99–406.35), P<0.0001) than for each hormone considered separately.

Conclusions

A new reference range for serum inhibin B was established by the use of updated immunoassay. The correlations between hormone levels and semen parameters highlighted the importance of establishing these values with respect to the spermogram. When combined with FSH assay, the inhibin B range may be of value in the evaluation of spermatogenesis in a number of male genital conditions.

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Paul Laissue, Sophie Christin-Maitre, Philippe Touraine, Frederique Kuttenn, Olli Ritvos, Kristiina Aittomaki, Nathalie Bourcigaux, Laetitia Jacquesson, Philippe Bouchard, Rene Frydman, Didier Dewailly, Anne-Céline Reyss, Luke Jeffery, Anne Bachelot, Nathalie Massin, Marc Fellous and Reiner A Veitia

Background and objective: Mutations in bone morphogenic protein 15 (BMP15) and growth/differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) lead to altered fertility in animal models. In the human, a heterozygous point mutation of BMP15 has been associated with premature ovarian failure (POF).

Subject and methods: We have directly sequenced both genes in a cohort of 203 POF patients presenting with primary or secondary amenorrhea and high FSH levels and in a control population including 54 women with regular menstrual cycles who had at least one child.

Results: We have identified several heterozygous variants. One alteration in GDF9 (S186Y) and one in BMP15 (L148P) may have pathogenic effects as both positions are conserved in vertebrate species, ranging from the chicken to mammals. These variants were absent in the control samples. We also found synonymous and neutral substitutions.

Conclusions: We propose that although mutations in BMP15 and GDF9 are not a major cause of ovarian insufficiency, they may be involved in POF.

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Gerard Conway, Didier Dewailly, Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis, Hector F Escobar-Morreale, Steven Franks, Alessandra Gambineri, Fahrettin Kelestimur, Djuro Macut, Dragan Micic, Renato Pasquali, Marija Pfeifer, Duarte Pignatelli, Michel Pugeat and Bulent O Yildiz

Background

There is evidence for differences between endocrinologists and other specialists in their approach to diagnosis and management of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Objective

A mailed survey consisting of a simple questionnaire aiming to understand current practice for diagnosis and management of the PCOS by specialists across Europe.

Methods

The questionnaire consisted of 23 questions grouped to achieve information on i) the general characteristics of the respondents, ii) patients with PCOS seen by endocrinologists, iii) the main diagnostic criteria, iv) biochemical parameters used in the differential diagnosis of hyperandrogenism, v) long-term concerns, and, finally vi) treatment choices. A total of 357 questionnaires representing 13.3% of the members of European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) were available for final analysis; 93% of the respondents were endocrinologists

Results

In relation to the diagnostic criteria, respondents were most likely to select menstrual irregularity as the most frequent criteria used for the diagnosis of PCOS although very high rates were achieved for the use of hirsutism and biochemical hyperandrogenism. It therefore appears that the NIH criteria were followed by the majority of respondents. The most frequent biochemical parameters in the differential diagnosis of hyperandrogenism were total testosterone or free androgen index. Obesity and type 2 diabetes were regarded as the principal long-term concerns for PCOS. The most common treatments for patients with PCOS were metformin (33%), lifestyle modification (25%), and oral contraceptives (22%). More direct treatments of infertility include clomiphene citrate alone or in combination with metformin, prescribed by 9 and 23%, respectively, whereas only 6% used other methods for induction of ovulation.

Conclusion

The survey produced by ESE is a good start for evaluating the perspective in the diagnosis and treatment of PCOS by endocrinologists in Europe.

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Gerard Conway, Didier Dewailly, Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis, Héctor F Escobar-Morreale, Stephen Franks, Alessandra Gambineri, Fahrettin Kelestimur, Djuro Macut, Dragan Micic, Renato Pasquali, Marija Pfeifer, Duarte Pignatelli, Michel Pugeat and Bulent O Yildiz

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common ovarian disorder associated with androgen excess in women, which justifies the growing interest of endocrinologists. Great efforts have been made in the last 2 decades to define the syndrome. The presence of three different definitions for the diagnosis of PCOS reflects the phenotypic heterogeneity of the syndrome. Major criteria are required for the diagnosis, which in turn identifies different phenotypes according to the combination of different criteria. In addition, the relevant impact of metabolic issues, specifically insulin resistance and obesity, on the pathogenesis of PCOS, and the susceptibility to develop earlier than expected glucose intolerance states, including type 2 diabetes, has supported the notion that these aspects should be considered when defining the PCOS phenotype and planning potential therapeutic strategies in an affected subject. This paper offers a critical endocrine and European perspective on the debate on the definition of PCOS and summarises all major aspects related to aetiological factors, including early life events, potentially involved in the development of the disorder. Diagnostic tools of PCOS are also discussed, with emphasis on the laboratory evaluation of androgens and other potential biomarkers of ovarian and metabolic dysfunctions. We have also paid specific attention to the role of obesity, sleep disorders and neuropsychological aspects of PCOS and on the relevant pathogenetic aspects of cardiovascular risk factors. In addition, we have discussed how to target treatment choices based according to the phenotype and individual patient's needs. Finally, we have suggested potential areas of translational and clinical research for the future with specific emphasis on hormonal and metabolic aspects of PCOS.