Background/Purpose: Abnormal folliculogenesis is one of the cardinal presentations of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and permeability of follicular wall has been proposed to be involved in the normal follicular growth. However, whether or not there is a change in intrafollicular permeability underlies PCOS is unknown. Methods: This was a tertiary center-based case–control study. From 2014 to 2015, thirteen patients with PCOS who underwent in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) were enrolled. Eleven normo-ovulatory patients who underwent IVF-ET due to male factor and/or tubal factor infertility were enrolled as the control group. The influence of ovarian follicular fluid (FF) on endothelial cell permeability was evaluated using a human umbilical vein endothelial cell monolayer permeability assay. The intrafollicular expression profiles of angiogenesis-related proteins were analyzed using a Human Angiogenesis Protein Array Kit. Results: The FF from PCOS patients caused significantly poorer endothelial cell permeability comparing with the effect of FF from the control group (46% ± 12% vs. 58% ± 9%, P = 0.023). Among the 55 angiogenesis-related proteins tested, there was a significantly higher level of intrafollicular platelet factor 4 (PF4) and PF4/IL-8 complex in the PCOS group (p = 0.004). The anti-permeability effect of PF4 was related to the decrease in the intercellular gaps and antagonistic binding with IL-8. Conclusion: Our study provides the first evidence of the pathophysiologic contribution of the well-known angiostatic protein, PF4, on human reproductive biology. The increase of the intrafollicular PF4 and its anti-permeability effect might affect the formation of FF and folliculogenesis in PCOS.
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