Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder of reproductive-age women involving overproduction of ovarian androgens and, in some cases, from the adrenal cortex. Family studies have established that PCOS is a complex heritable disorder with genetic and epigenetic components. Several small, noncoding RNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to be differentially expressed in ovarian cells and follicular fluid and in the circulation of women with PCOS. However, there are no reports of global miRNA expression and target gene analyses in ovarian theca cells isolated from normal cycling women and women with PCOS, which are key to the elucidation of the basis for the hyperandrogenemia characteristic of PCOS. With the use of small RNA deep sequencing (miR-seq), we identified 18 differentially expressed miRNAs in PCOS theca cells; of these, miR-130b-3p was predicted to target one of the PCOS genome-wide association study candidates, differentially expressed in neoplastic vs normal cells domain containing 1A (DENND1A). We previously reported that DENND1A variant 2 (DENND1A.V2), a truncated isoform of DENND1A, is upregulated in PCOS theca cells and mediates augmented androgen biosynthesis in PCOS theca cells. The comparison of miR-130b-3p in normal and PCOS theca cells demonstrated decreased miR-130b-3p expression in PCOS theca cells, which was correlated with increased DENND1A.V2, cytochrome P450 17α-hydroxylase (CYP17A1) mRNA and androgen biosynthesis. miR-130b-3p mimic studies established that increased miR130b-3p is correlated with decreased DENND1A.V2 and CYP17A1 expression. Thus, in addition to genetic factors, post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms via miR-130b-3p underly androgen excess in PCOS. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis Core Pathway and Network Analyses suggest a network by which miR-130b-3p, DENND1A, the luteinizing hormone/choriogonadotropin receptor, Ras-related protein 5B, and signaling pathways that they potentially target may mediate hyperandrogenism in PCOS.
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