The immunesupressive action of CD4+CD25+ CD127−/low T regulatory cells (Tregs) is vital for an efficient reproductive function. However no data exists on their number or functionality in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).Objective:
The study aimed to analyze the frequency of circulating Tregs and key factors modulating them in women with PCOS.Design, Setting, and Participants:
This is a retrospective, case-control cohort study conducted in women with PCOS recruited from Samad IVF hospitals and Women and Children Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, India. Women with PCOS (N = 20) were diagnosed according to Rotterdam Consensus and normal menstruating women were taken as controls (N = 2331).Main Outcome Measures:
We analyzed the proportion of CD4+CD25+ CD127−/low Tregs in women with PCOS by fluorescent activated cell sorting.Results:
The study discovered that the women with PCOS have reduced numbers of Tregs (2.626 ± 0.62) compared with controls (4.253 ± 0.87) (t = 6.963, P < .0001, mean difference = −1.627; 95% confidence interval = −2.099–−1.155). We documented a decrease in the follicular phase Treg expansion in women with PCOS. Our results revealed a reduced STAT5A (fold change [FC] = 7.642, P < .0004)/STAT5B (FC = 3.824, P < .0001), FOXP3 (FC = 4.1343, P = .0004)/CTLA4 (FC = 2.569, P = .0001) and elevated AKT (FC = 7.39, P = .05)/PIK3 (FC = 5.326, P = .0002) expression in women with PCOS. Recombinant interleukin 2 (rIL2) treatment failed to improve FOXP3/CTLA4 levels but caused a reduction of AKT/PIK3 arm, possibly due to an elevated PTEN in women with PCOS.Conclusion:
The study suggests that women with PCOS have reduced Tregs due to an inherent hyporesponsiveness to IL2, which is unable to activate STAT5B and reduce FOXP3 expression. IL2-based therapeutic strategies can ameliorate complications in PCOS by suppressing the AKT/PIK3 arm.