Feasibility Study for Development of an Early Test for Ovarian Failure

2014-08-27 03:57:29 | BioPortfolio


This purpose of this study is to gain information about normal ovarian function that will be useful in developing a test for early detection of ovarian failure. The ovaries produce female hormones, such as estrogen, that are important in maintaining a woman's health. When the ovaries do not work properly, problems can develop. Unfortunately, there is no test that can detect ovarian failure early in its course. By the time premature ovarian failure is diagnosed in young women, two-thirds have already developed osteopenia (loss of some bone mass) and nearly one in ten have osteoporosis, a greater loss of bone mineral density that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.

Women with normal ovarian function ages 18 to 55 and postmenopausal women 60 years of age or older may be eligible for this study. Candidates will be screened with a medical history, physical examination, blood tests and vaginal ultrasound examination. For the ultrasound study, a probe that emits sound waves is inserted into the vagina, and the sound waves are converted to form images of the ovaries. The procedure is done with an empty bladder and takes about 10 minutes. After this screening visit (Visit 1), those enrolled in the study will return to the NIH Clinical Center for the following additional procedures:

Visit 2-Will be scheduled between days 3 and 5 of the menstrual cycle (for women who are still menstruating). Participants will have blood tests to measure hormone levels and to check for pregnancy, and will have another transvaginal ultrasound examination. They will then receive an injection of a synthetic form of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), a hormone the body makes normally.

Visits 3 and 4-Will be scheduled 24 and 36 hours after the FSH injection given during Visit 2 for collection of blood samples.

Visit 5-Will be scheduled 48 hours after the FSH injection for additional blood sampling and a final transvaginal ultrasound examination.


This is a pilot project to test the feasibility of developing an FSH stimulation test. There is a need for a sensitive and specific marker to detect ovarian insufficiency early in its course. FSH stimulates inhibin B production by the granulosa cells of the cohort of ovarian follicles; serum inhibin B in turn participates in the negative feedback loop regulating FSH secretion. This protocol is characterizing the normal FSH-stimulated serum inhibin B response to a single subcutaneous injection of 300 IU human recombinant FSH given on day 2 to 4 of the menstrual cycle. In preliminary analysis under this protocol we have demonstrated that FSH-stimulated serum inhibin B levels measured at 24 hours after injection is a more robust marker of functional ovarian age than ovarian follicle count by transvaginal ultrasound, basal serum Mullerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS) levels, or basal serum FSH levels. Multiple regression analysis has revealed that FSH-stimulated inhibin B, FSH-stimulated estradiol, and basal FSH contribute significantly to an ability to predict functional ovarian age (as approximated by chronological age). The resulting regression equation relating these three parameters with age has a correlation coefficient of 0.742 and a coefficient of determination of 0.551. The protocol is now evaluating the reproducibility of this test and the feasibility of generating normative data in young women between the ages of 18 and 25. The results of this study may define parameters that could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of premature ovarian insufficiency.

Study Design

Primary Purpose: Treatment




Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)


National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
United States




National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:57:29-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Receptors with a 6-kDa protein on the surfaces of cells that secrete LUTEINIZING HORMONE or FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE, usually in the adenohypophysis. LUTEINIZING HORMONE-RELEASING HORMONE binds to these receptors, is endocytosed with the receptor and, in the cell, triggers the release of LUTEINIZING HORMONE or FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE by the cell. These receptors are also found in rat gonads. INHIBINS prevent the binding of GnRH to its receptors.

The beta subunit of follicle stimulating hormone. It is a 15-kDa glycopolypeptide. Full biological activity of FSH requires the non-covalently bound heterodimers of an alpha and a beta subunit. Mutation of the FSHB gene causes delayed puberty, or infertility.

A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates GAMETOGENESIS and the supporting cells such as the ovarian GRANULOSA CELLS, the testicular SERTOLI CELLS, and LEYDIG CELLS. FSH consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.

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A major gonadotropin secreted by the human adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates GAMETOGENESIS and the supporting cells such as the ovarian GRANULOSA CELLS, the testicular SERTOLI CELLS, and the LEYDIG CELLS. FSH consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. The alpha subunit is common in the three human pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.

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