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Sandrine Caburet, Ronit Beck Fruchter, Bérangère Legois, Marc Fellous, Stavit Shalev and Reiner A Veitia

Context

PCOS is a heterogeneous condition characterized by hyperandrogenism and chronic anovulation and affects about 10% of women. Its etiology is poorly known, but a dysregulation of gonadotropin secretion is one of its hallmarks.

Objective

As the etiology of PCOS is unclear, we have performed a genome-wide analysis of a consanguineous family with three sisters diagnosed with PCOS.

Methods

Whole-exome sequencing and Sanger sequencing confirmation.

Results

Whole-exome sequencing allowed the detection of the missense variant rs104893836 located in the first coding exon of the GNRHR gene and leading to the p.Gln106Arg (p.Q106R) substitution. Sanger sequencing of all available individuals of the family confirmed that the variant was homozygous in the three affected sisters and heterozygous in both parents.

Conclusions

This is the first description of a GNRHR gene mutation in patients diagnosed with PCOS. Although we do not exclude a possible interaction of the identified variant with the genetic background and/or the environment, our result suggests that genetic alterations in the hypothalamo–pituitary axis may play role in the pathogenesis of PCOS.

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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.