Chinese scientists find potential infertility treatment for PCOS patients

Updated: 2016-02-23 05:09


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WASHINGTON -- Chinese scientists said Monday they have found a potential treatment for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of infertility marked by chronic lack of ovulation.

Transplanting brown adipose tissue (BAT), one of two types of fat found in humans and other mammals, into rats with PCOS significantly stabilized menstrual irregularity and improved ovulation and pregnancy outcomes, they reported in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study was jointly conducted by Wanzhu Jin at the Institute of Zoology, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Zijiang Chen at the Shandong University.

PCOS is one of the most common endocrine diseases in women of reproductive age, which can cause irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovaries and infertility,

The disease is also associated with a high risk for the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular disease.

Because the cause of PCOS is largely unknown, there is no cure or specific treatment for the disorder. Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise, have been recommended for women with PCOS.

In the new study, the researchers found BAT transplantation activated endogenous BAT, which secrets adiponectin,a systemic brown adipokine that plays a prominent role in whole-body energy metabolism and ovarian physiology, Jin told Xinhua.

Further research showed that injection of adiponectin into PCOS rat "recapitulates the beneficial effects of BAT transplantation by normalizing BAT activity, metabolic abnormalities, acyclicity and abnormal hormonal levels."

"The study provides a brand new clue to the treatment of PCOS patients," Jin said.

However, BAT transplantation itself is far from clinical application because it's not easily applied to human beings, he noted.

As a result, administration of drugs that enhance BAT activity will be alternative strategies for the treatment of PCOS, he added.