Lower levels of urinary 2-hydroxyestrogens in polycystic ovary syndrome

Sana Salih, Xia Xu, Timothy D. Veenstra, Antoni J. Duleba, Hala Fouad, Manubai Nagamani, Ayman Al-Hendy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Context: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have anovulation due to arrested follicular maturation. The substrate (2-hydroxyestrogen) and product (2-methoxyestrogen) of catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) have been shown to modulate proliferation and angiogenesis of granulosa cells. Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate COMT ovarian expression as well as the production of estrogen metabolites (2-hydroxyestrogen and 2-methoxyestrogen) in subjects with PCOS. Design: Immunohistochemistry was used to assess COMT expression in ovarian tissues. Urinary levels of 10 different estrogens and estrogen metabolites were measured using enzyme-labeled immunoassays and/or liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. Setting: The study was conducted at a tertiary university referral center. Patients and Other Participants: Ovarian tissues were obtained from six control subjects and six subjects with PCOS. Fasting first-void urinary samples were collected from 49 subjects with PCOS and 36 healthy control subjects. Main Outcome Measure(s): COMT protein expression in ovarian tissues was measured. Urinary levels of 2-hydroxyestrogen and 2-methoxyestrogen levels in PCOS patients were also measured. Results: Whereas immunohistochemistry showed that COMT was expressed in ovaries from control and PCOS subjects, its expression was significantly higher in ovaries from subjects with PCOS, in both the follicular structures and ovarian stroma. The urinary 2-hydroxyestrogen level was significantly lower in subjects with PCOS, compared with normal controls (P = 0.009). Additionally, urinary 2-hydroxyestrogen levels negatively correlated with serum insulin levels in subjects with PCOS (r = -0.333, P =0 .031). Conclusions: Urinary 2-hydroxyestrogen is decreased in subjects with PCOS, which could be due in part to increased ovarian expression of COMT. Further studies are needed to ascertain the role of estrogen metabolism in PCOS before this information can be used in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3285-3291
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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