The Pathogenesis of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome: A Continuing Enigma

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Our purpose was to review the available literature concerning the pathogenesis of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and, in light of the most recent information, to attempt to provide further insight on this iatrogenic complication associated with the induction of ovulation.


Published studies related to this topic were identified through a computerized bibliographic search.


The exact mechanism for the development of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is still obscure. It is well established that the syndrome is associated with the process of ovulation induced by either luteinizing hormone or human chorionic gonadotropin. Following ovulation, one or more substances produced by the ovary are liberated in excess, increasing capillary permeability, resulting in the clinical features of the syndrome. It may well be that the syndrome is not triggered by a single mechanism but by the production and secretion of several substances acting in concert. These may include prostaglandins, cytokines, the ovarian renin-angiotensin system, vascular endothelial growth factor, and nitric oxide.

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