Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have been reported to have an elevated serum advanced glycation end product (AGE) level. However, the effect of AGEs on the pathophysiological ovarian granulosa cells of PCOS is still unclear. In this study, five indented BSA-derived AGE products were used to evaluate their effect on the function of human granulosa cells. We found that the proliferation of both primary human ovarian granulosa (hGC) cells and human granulosa-like tumor (KGN) cells were inhibited by treatment with these five AGE products. The progesterone secretion level was also reduced in both hGC and KGN cells by treatment with these AGE products through downregulation of LH receptor/cAMP regulatory activity. The granulosa cell layer and serum progesterone level were reduced in rats by treatment with MG-BSA; moreover, an increased number of follicle cysts and an irregular estrous cycle were observed. MG-BSA treatment had a similar effect on the phenotypes of the DHEA-induced PCOS model. Additionally, the insulin resistance and hepatic lesions seen in the DHEA-induced PCOS model were observed in the MG-BSA treatment group. Taken together, we found that AGEs exert a toxic effect on ovarian granulosa cells, ovarian morphology, and the estrous cycle that mimics the DHEA-induced PCOS phenotypes.
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