Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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The interplay between androgens and the immune response in polycystic ovary syndrome

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 13:11 authored by Sania Shabbir, Emaan Khurram, Vedhika Sathya Moorthi, Youssef Tamer Hassan Eissa, Mohammad Azhar Kamal, Alexandra ButlerAlexandra Butler

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic-reproductive-endocrine disorder that, while having a genetic component, is known to have a complex multifactorial etiology. As PCOS is a diagnosis of exclusion, standardized criteria have been developed for its diagnosis. The general consensus is that hyperandrogenism is the primary feature of PCOS and is associated with an array of physiological dysfunctions; excess androgens, for example, have been correlated with cytokine hypersecretion, adipocyte proliferation, and signaling pathway dysregulation. Another key feature of PCOS is insulin resistance, resulting in aberrant glucose and fatty acid metabolism. Additionally, the immune system plays a key role in PCOS. Hyperandrogenism stimulates some immune cells while it inhibits others, thereby disrupting the normal balance of immune cells and creating a state of chronic inflammation. This low-grade inflammation could contribute to infertility since it induces ovarian dysfunction. This dysregulated immune response in PCOS exhibits autoimmunity characteristics that require further investigation. This review paper examines the relationship between androgens and the immune response and how their malfunction contributes to PCOS. 



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Published Citation

Shabbir S, Khurram E, Moorthi VS, Eissa YTH, Kamal MA, Butler AE. The interplay between androgens and the immune response in polycystic ovary syndrome. J Transl Med. 2023;21(1):259.

Publication Date

16 April 2023

PubMed ID



  • RCSI Bahrain


Springer Nature


  • Published Version (Version of Record)