Pathogenic anti-Müllerian hormone variants in polycystic ovary syndrome

Lidija K. Gorsic, Gulum Kosova, Brian Werstein, Ryan Sisk, Richard S. Legro, M. Geoffrey Hayes, Jose M. Teixeira, Andrea Dunaif, Margrit Urbanek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Context: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common endocrine condition, is the leading cause of anovulatory infertility. Objective: Given that common disease-susceptibility variants account for only a small percentage of the estimated PCOS heritability, we tested the hypothesis that rare variants contribute to this deficit in heritability. Design, Setting, and Participants: Unbiased whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 80 patients with PCOS and 24 reproductively normal control subjects identified potentially deleterious variants in AMH, the gene encoding anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH). Targeted sequencing of AMH of 643 patients with PCOS and 153 control patients was used to replicate WGS findings. Main Outcome Measures: Dual luciferase reporter assays measured the impact of the variants on downstream AMH signaling. Results: We found 24 rare (minor allele frequency < 0.01) AMH variants in patients with PCOS and control subjects; 18 variants were specific to women with PCOS. Seventeen of 18 (94%) PCOS-specific variants had significantly reduced AMH signaling, whereas none of ± variants observed in control subjects showed significant defects in signaling. Thus, we identified rare AMH coding variants that reduced AMH-mediated signaling in a subset of patients with PCOS. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this study is the first to identify rare genetic variants associated with a common PCOS phenotype. Our findings suggest decreased AMH signaling as a mechanism for the pathogenesis of PCOS. AMH decreases androgen biosynthesis by inhibiting CYP17 activity; a potential mechanism of action for AMH variants in PCOS, therefore, is to increase androgen biosynthesis due to decreased AMH-mediated inhibition of CYP17 activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2862-2872
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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