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Evidence Of Early Ovarian Aging In Fragile X Premutation Carriers.

C. Welt, P. C. Smith, A. E. Taylor
Published 2004 · Medicine, Biology

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Up to 28% of female fragile X premutation carriers develop premature ovarian failure. To test the hypothesis that fragile X premutation carriers with ovulatory menstrual cycles exhibit hormone changes characteristic of early ovarian aging, 11 regularly cycling fragile X premutation carriers, 24-41 yr old (34.5 +/- 5.7 yr, mean +/- sd), drew daily blood samples across one menstrual cycle. LH, FSH, estradiol, progesterone (P4), inhibin A, and inhibin B levels were compared with levels in 22 age-matched, regularly cycling women, 23-41 yr old (34.6 +/- 5.8 yr), at each cycle stage. Total cycle (26.1 +/- 1.0 vs. 28.2 +/- 0.4 d; P < 0.05) and follicular phase length (12.9 +/- 0.8 vs. 14.5 +/- 0.4 d; P < 0.05) were decreased in fragile X premutation carriers compared with age-matched controls, whereas luteal phase length was similar (13.2 +/- 0.5 vs. 13.7 +/- 0.3 d; P = not significant). FSH was elevated across the follicular (21.9 +/- 3.5 vs. 11.2 +/- 0.5 IU/liter; P < 0.001) and luteal phases (14.6 +/- 3.9 vs. 7.9 +/- 0.5 IU/liter; P < 0.05) in fragile X premutation carriers compared with age-matched controls. Inhibin B in the follicular phase (77 +/- 11 vs. 104 +/- 6 pg/ml; P < 0.05) and inhibin A (3.4 +/- 0.7 vs. 5.8 +/- 0.5 IU/ml; P < 0.01) and P4 [7.3 +/- 1.0 vs. 10.1 +/- 0.7 ng/ml (23.2 +/- 3.0 vs. 32.1 +/- 2.3 nmol/liter); P < 0.05] in the luteal phase were decreased in fragile X premutation carriers compared with age-matched controls, whereas there was no difference in estradiol or LH. In summary, despite regular ovulatory cycles, FSH was increased in fragile X premutation carriers compared with age-matched controls. The increased FSH was accompanied by decreased inhibin B in the follicular phase and inhibin A and P4 in the luteal phase. These hormonal changes suggest that fragile X premutation carriers exhibit early ovarian aging despite regular menstrual cycles. Early ovarian aging in fragile X premutation carriers likely results from decreased follicle number and function, as reflected by lower inhibin B, inhibin A, and P4 levels.
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