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Polycystic ovarian syndrome: New light on its causes and its effect on brothers
Date:6/30/2009

s of PCOS. Mothers of these women tended to have elevated blood pressure during pregnancy. Daughters were nearly eight times as likely to have PCOS if their mothers had it, and they had a slightly higher risk if their mothers smoked during pregnancy. Mothers were 1.6 times as likely to have high blood pressure in later life if their daughters developed PCOS. If their fathers had heart disease or stroke, the daughters also had a higher risk of PCOS: double and three times the risk respectively. A history of diabetes in either parent was not significant.

Prof Davies said: "These findings suggest a new pathway for the development of PCOS. We think that factors associated with the pre-existence of cardiovascular dysfunction in the mother or the father, and which operate during pregnancy, may create adverse conditions for the foetus, which alter the metabolic profile of offspring, leading to insulin resistance and reproductive consequences, such as PCOS, for daughters. A family history of diabetes is, therefore, not essential to observe an insulin resistance-related disease in offspring."

He said it was still unclear exactly how the cardiovascular risk in the father affected the daughter. "We firstly need to consider the potential role of a common environment; for instance, that families with high levels of obesity (and therefore cardiovascular disease) will also tend to have heavy daughters who are thereby more likely to be affected by PCOS. However, the paternal effect that we saw was independent of the daughter's weight, maternal age, socioeconomic status, maternal smoking, and country of birth, which suggests either a direct genetic effect on the daughter, or an effect of paternal genetic factors that are expressed during pregnancy."

Dr Verena Mattle told the news briefing that her study was the first to show that brothers of women who had PCOS and insulin resistance were themselves more likely to develop insulin resistance or even diabetes
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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