Interleukin-1alpha: the key to polycystic ovarian syndrome?
Thozhukat Sathyapalan1, Valerie Speirs1, Stephen Killick2 & Stephen L Atkin1
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 510% of reproductive-aged women and is associated with hyperandrogenism and chronic anovulation. Leukocytes, together with granulosa cells, may contribute to the pathogenesis of PCOS via their ability to secrete an array of cytokines implicated in follicle growth.
Aim: Using RT-PCR, we screened for the expression of a range of cytokines in ovarian biopsies obtained from PCOS patients and normal individuals to identify key cytokines may be involved in the development of this disorder.
Methods: Ovarian biopsies were obtained from 8 patients who presented sequentially with classical clinical and biochemical features of PCO (mean age =30, range =2836 years). Biopsies of normal ovary were obtained from 6 patients (mean age =35, range =2448 years). Tissue was snap-frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored at 80alphaC until required. Local ethical committee approval was obtained.
Reverse transcriptase-linked polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), was used to detect the message interleukin (IL)-1alpha, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, TNF-β, and all three human isoforms of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β.
Results: Transcripts for IL-2 or LIF were not detected in either tissue group. No significant differences in expression of IL-1α, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, TNF-α, TNF-β or TGF-β 13 were observed between the two groups of tissue. IL-1β was not observed in any of the PCO samples, although it was expressed by the majority (67%) of normal biopsy samples at significantly higher levels (P=0.0063).
Conclusion: The complete absence of IL-1β in PCO suggests that aberrant expression of this cytokine may be critical for the onset of this condition. Unravelling the precise role of IL-1β in the ovulatory process may have an impact on the clinical management of PCO.