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The Endometrial Transcriptome of Metabolic and Inflammatory Pathways During the Window of Implantation Is Deranged in Infertile Obese Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Women

Vesna Salamun, Manfredi Rizzo, Luca Lovrecic, Keli Hocevar, Tanja Papler Burnik, Andrej Janez, Mojca Jensterle, Eda Vrtacnik Bokal, Borut Peterlin,

Abstract:Introduction and Aim: Obese women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have a reduced rate of spontaneous conception even when their cycles are ovulatory. Endometrial receptivity is an important factor for poor implantation and increased miscarriage rates. Mechanisms in which both pathologies modify the endometrium are not fully clarified. The aim of our study was to compare the endometrial transcriptomic profiles between infertile obese PCOS (O-PCOS) women and infertile normal weight subjects during the window of implantation in ovulatory menstrual cycles. Methods: We conducted a prospective transcriptomic analysis of the endometrium using RNA sequencing. In this way, potential endometrial mechanisms leading to the poor reproductive outcome in O-PCOS patients could be characterized. Endometrial samples during days 21–23 of the menstrual cycle were collected from infertile O-PCOS women (n = 11) and normal weight controls (n = 10). Subgroups were defined according to the ovulatory/anovulatory status in the natural cycles, and O-PCOS women were grouped into the O-PCOS ovulatory (O-PCOS-ovul) subgroup. RNA isolation, sequencing with library reparation, and subsequent RNAseq data analysis were performed. Results: Infertile O-PCOS patients had 610 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), after adjustment for multiple comparisons with normal weight infertile controls, related to obesity (MXRA5 and ECM1), PCOS (ADAMTS19 and SLC18A2), and metabolism (VNN1 and PC). In the ovulatory subgroup, no DEGs were found, but significant differences in canonical pathways and the upstream regulator were revealed. According to functional and upstream analyses of ovulatory subgroup comparisons, the most important biological processes were related to inflammation (TNFR1 signaling), insulin signaling (insulin receptor signaling and PI3/AKT), fatty acid metabolism (stearate biosynthesis I and palmitate biosynthesis I), and lipotoxicity (unfolded protein response pathway). Conclusions: We demonstrated that endometrial transcription in ovulatory O-PCOS patients is deranged in comparison with the control ovulatory endometrium. The most important pathways of differentiation include metabolism and inflammation. These processes could also represent potential mechanisms for poor embryo implantation, which prevent the development of a successful pregnancy. ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03353948.
Keywords: obesity / PCOS / endometrial receptivity / infertility / transcriptome / implantation

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