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Proteomic sift through serum and endometrium profiles unraveled signature proteins associated with subdued fertility and dampened endometrial receptivity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

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The objective of this study is to discern the proteomic differences responsible for hampering the receptivity of endometrium and subduing the fertility of females with polycystic ovary syndrome in analogy to healthy fertile females. This study was designed in collaboration with Hakeem Abdul Hameed Centenary Hospital affiliated to Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India. Serum samples were taken from infertile PCOS subjects (n = 6) and fertile control subjects (n = 6) whereas endometrial tissue samples were recruited from ovulatory PCOS (n = 4), anovulatory PCOS (n = 4) and normal healthy fertile control subjects (n = 4) for proteomic studies. Additionally, endometrial biopsies from healthy fertile control (n = 8), PCOS with infertility (n = 6), unexplained infertility (n = 3) and endometrial hyperplasia (n = 3) were taken for validation studies. Anthropometric, biochemical and hormonal evaluation was done for all the subjects enrolled in this study. Protein profiles were generated through 2D-PAGE and differential proteins analyzed with PD-QUEST software followed by identification with MALDI-TOF MS protein mass fingerprinting. Validation of identified proteins was done through RT-PCR relative expression analysis. Protein profiling of serum revealed differential expression of proteins involved in transcriptional regulation, embryogenesis, DNA repair, decidual cell ploidy, immunomodulation, intracellular trafficking and degradation processes. Proteins involved in cell cycle regulation, cellular transport and signaling, DNA repair, apoptotic processes and mitochondrial metabolism were found to be differentially expressed in endometrium. The findings of this study revealed proteins that hold strong candidature as potential drug targets to regulate the cellular processes implicating infertility and reduced receptivity of endometrium in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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We acknowledge the Central Instrumentation Facility, School of Chemical and Life Sciences, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India for providing necessary facilities during this study. We are thankful to the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, HAH Centenary Hospital, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (HIMSR), Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India for the clinical collaboration in the study undertaken. We also acknowledge the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for the generous grant (Grant No: 5/4/7-8/2012/NCD-II) under which procurement of equipments used in this study was carried out.


University Grants Commission (UGC) supported Nadia Rashid by providing fellowship under the CSIR-UGC NET JRF Scheme.

Author information

The authors were responsible for the following: N.R: collected all the samples and related clinical information, did all experiments, tabulated and analyzed the data, did statistical and bioinformatic analysis, wrote the manuscript; A.N was the clinical collaborator of the study and reviewed the manuscript; S.K.J contributed to data interpretation and reviewed the manuscript; S.H.N provided help in real-time PCR experiments and data analysis; S.W. designed and conceptualized the study, provided research/instrumentation facilities, principal investigator of the study, analyzed the data, contributed to data interpretation and reviewed and finalized the manuscript.

Correspondence to Saima Wajid.

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All subjects enrolled in this study signed the written informed consent prior to sample collection.

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All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The present study was undertaken in clinical collaboration with the Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (HIMSR) and ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee of Jamia Hamdard (JHIEC), New Delhi, India (Ethical Approval July 01, 2015).

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Rashid, N., Nigam, A., Jain, S. et al. Proteomic sift through serum and endometrium profiles unraveled signature proteins associated with subdued fertility and dampened endometrial receptivity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Cell Tissue Res (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-020-03171-3

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  • PCOS
  • Infertility
  • Endometrium
  • Receptivity
  • Proteomics