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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
E-pub ahead of print

Rare genetic variants suggest dysregulation of signaling pathways in low- and high-risk patients developing severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

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PURPOSE: To investigate if rare gene variants in women with severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) provide clues to the mechanisms involved in the syndrome.

METHODS: Among participants in a prospective randomized study (Toftager et al. 2016), six women with predicted low and six women with predicted high risk of OHSS developing severe OHSS (grades 4 and 5, Golan classification) were selected. In the same cohort, six plus six matched controls developing no signs of OHSS (Golan grade 0) were selected. Whole-exome sequencing was performed. Analysis using a predefined in silico OHSS gene panel, variant filtering, and pathway analyses was done.

RESULTS: We found no convincing monogenetic association with the development of OHSS using the in silico gene panel. Pathway analysis of OHSS variant lists showed substantial overlap in highly enriched top pathways (p value range p < 0.0001 and p > 9.8E-17) between the low- and high-risk group developing severe OHSS, i.e., "the integrin-linked kinase (ILK) signaling pathway" and the "axonal guidance signaling pathway," both being connected to vasoactive endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and endothelial function.

CONCLUSION: Rare variants in OHSS cases with two distinct risk profiles enrich the same signaling pathways linked to VEGF and endothelial function. Clarification of the mechanism as well as potentially defining genetic predisposition of the high vascular permeability is important for future targeted treatment and prevention of OHSS; the potential roles of ILK signaling and the axonal guidance signaling need to be validated by functional studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Axonal guidance signaling, ILK signaling pathway, Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, Pathway analyses

ID: 60880698