Insulin and Messenger Ribonucleic Acid Expression of Insulin Receptor Isoforms in Ovarian Follicles from Nonhirsute Ovulatory Women and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Patients

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Insulin action is mediated by two insulin receptor (IR) isoforms, differing in mitogenic and metabolic function. IR isoform expression might occur in human granulosa cells and could be altered in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) from hyperinsulinemia. To determine the relationship between granulosa cell IR isoform expression and follicular fluid insulin concentration in individual follicles, 18 normal women and seven PCOS patients receiving gonadotropins for in vitro fertilization were studied. Glucose tolerance testing was performed before pituitary desensitization, and fasting serum insulin was measured at oocyte retrieval. Granulosa cells and fluid aspirated from the first follicle were used to determine IR isoform mRNA expression and insulin concentration, respectively. IR isoform A mRNA expression was greater than that of IR isoform B expression in normal mural granulosa and cumulus cells, without a cell type effect. Intrafollicular insulin levels increased with adiposity and serum insulin levels at oocyte-retrieval but did not predict IR mRNA expression. Total IR mRNA expression, but not intrafollicular insulin levels, was elevated in PCOS patients, whereas intrafollicular insulin levels were increased in women with impaired glucose tolerance. Granulosa cell IR heterogeneity, together with adiposity-dependent intrafollicular insulin availability, introduces a novel mechanism by which insulin may affect granulosa cell function within the follicle.

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