BACKGROUND: While screening of thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) has been recommended in women with primary ovarian insufficiency, the relationship between thyroid autoimmunity (TAI) and ovarian reserve remains undetermined. Because the TAI prevalence was reported to be different between different ethnic/racial groups, this study aimed to investigate the TAI prevalence in Chinese women with variable ovarian reserve.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study conducted in a university infertility clinic between October 2013 and March 2016. Among patients at their first entry to the infertility clinic, a total of 1044 patients with available results of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), thyrotropin (TSH), TPOAb, and thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) were enrolled. The TSH levels and the prevalence of positive TPOAb and positive TgAb were compared between patients with low, normal, and high ovarian reserve categorized with age-specific AMH levels.
RESULTS: For the whole study population, the TSH levels, TPOAb positivity, and TgAb positivity were comparable between patients with variable ovarian reserve. However, after patients with known causes compromising ovarian reserve (iatrogenic or genetic) were excluded, only TPOAb positivity became significantly different between patients with low (22.7%), normal (14.0%), and high ovarian reserve (10.3%; p = 0.012). The TPOAb levels were not significantly correlated to AMH levels (Spearman's ρ = -0.027; p = 0.413). For the infertile subgroup, TPOAb positivity was significantly associated with idiopathic low ovarian reserve in unexplained infertility (low ovarian reserve: 28.6%; normal: 15.7%; high: 9.5%; p = 0.020).
CONCLUSIONS: Idiopathic low ovarian reserve was associated with more frequent positive TPOAb rather than thyroid function or TgAb positivity in Chinese women.