Evolutionary determinants of polycystic ovary syndrome: part 1

Although polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common cause of anovulatory infertility, its high prevalence is an evolutionary paradox. In this article the potential explanations for this enigma are explored.

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Authors

Uğur Ünlütürk, M.D., Efe Sezgin, Ph.D., Bulent Okan Yildiz, M.D.

Abstract

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common and complex genetic disorder that develops under varying degrees of hyperandrogenemic and hyperinsulinemic conditions that cause phenotypic variability ranging from mild hirsutism to anovulation and infertility. In addition to increased risk of reproductive disability, PCOS is associated with metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular disease. Similar prevalence rates and shared genetic susceptibility of PCOS among different populations suggest that genetic risk factors were already present in the ancestors of humans. Contemporary human genetic studies inform us that the origin of human ancestors is from Africa. Sharing common susceptibility loci between Chinese and European ancestry suggests that PCOS may have persisted for more than 50,000 years, before the migration of humans out of Africa. Although PCOS is the most common cause of anovulatory infertility, its high prevalence is still a paradox. From an evolutionary perspective, the pathogenic mechanisms underlying PCOS might be candidate factors for survival advantage of the human being. Former compensatory advantageous factors may become pathogenic mechanisms underlying complex metabolic disease with prolonged life expectancy and transition to sedentary lifestyle.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(16)612...

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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