Individual serum levels of anti-Müllerian hormone in healthy girls persist through childhood and adolescence: a longitudinal cohort study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

In adult women, the circulating level of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is a novel marker of ovarian function, as it reflects the number of remaining ovarian follicles. Therefore, AMH has gained widespread attention in fertility clinics, and a low AMH is believed to predict impaired fertility and imminent menopause. However, the natural course of circulating AMH levels during female childhood and adolescence is not known.

METHODS

Serum levels of AMH and FSH were measured in girls participating in The COPENHAGEN Puberty Study. Longitudinal part: 85 healthy girls and adolescents were examined, and blood samples were drawn every 6 months for an average of 3 years: median (range) number of samples per girl was 6 (2–10), age at baseline was 9.2 (5.9–12.9) years. Cross-sectional part: 224 prepubertal girls (age 8.3, 5.6–11.7 years) were examined and each girl had one blood sample drawn.

RESULTS

The individual mean AMH levels in girls followed longitudinally ranged from 5 to 54 pmol/l (median 18 pmol/l). The mean intra-individual coefficient of variation of AMH was 22% (range 0–54%). Overall, each girl maintained her AMH level throughout childhood and adolescence although minor, but significant, changes occurred during pubertal transition. In prepubertal girls, AMH was negatively correlated with FSH (r = −0.31, P < 0.001). Twelve per cent (10/85) had mean AMH below a cut-off value of 8 pmol/l, indicating that the interpretation of low AMH as a marker of approaching menopause may not apply to pre- and peri-pubertal girls.

CONCLUSIONS

Circulating AMH exhibits only minor fluctuations during childhood and adolescence, and a random AMH measurement seems representative for a given girl. The negative AMH–FSH correlation in prepubertal girls supports the notion that AMH is a quantitative marker of ovarian follicles even in young girls.

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