What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome finds its origin in the brain and not in the ovaries as long assumed according to a recent study published in the journal PNAS.

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects about 5% to 10% of women of reproductive age. Frustratingly, the anomaly affects the ovaries and causes an absence of ovulation. The range of symptoms is vast. Some of the most common include acne, difficulty conceiving (infertility), irregular menstruation, obesity, abnormal skin color, hair loss or excessive body hair, and irregular periods. . Women may also observe a reduction in the volume of their periods, or even a complete absence of periods for 6 months or more.

In the long term, polycystic ovary syndrome can lead to metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hormonal dysfunctions, including infertility. So there are known symptoms and risks to call and yet, despite the seriousness of the condition, researchers still do not understand the causes of PCOS. And if we do not control the causes, then it is difficult, if not impossible, to deal with the problems observed.

A recent study conducted on mice by researchers at the University of New Wales, Australia, nevertheless suggests that the syndrome has its origin in the brain. They found that a high level of a steroid hormone called androgen plays an unexpected role in the development of PCOS. Androgens are a group of hormones normally associated with men — testosterone being one of them — that are produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. The researchers silenced the action of androgens in the various body parts of the mice studied and ultimately found that by nullifying the action of these hormones in the brain, the animal was protected against the development of PCOS.

 » If we understand what underlies the condition then we can begin to develop treatments targeting the cause of it rather than the symptoms. “Explains in a press release the principal researcher Kirsty Walters. In any case, these results suggest two important things, confirming on the one hand that an excess of androgens does indeed trigger the condition and that the action of androgens in the brain plays an important role in the development of PCOS. This means that if we can find a way to curb excess androgens in the brain, we could treat PCOS at the source. It remains to be seen whether these results will also be observed in humans.


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