PGR and PTX3 gene expression in cumulus cells from obese and normal weighting women after administration of long-acting recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone for controlled ovarian stimulation

  • Tanja Burnik Papler
  • Eda Vrtačnik Bokal
  • Uršula Prosenc Zmrzljak
  • Martin Stimpfel
  • Antonio Simone LaganàEmail author
  • Fabio Ghezzi
  • Nina Jančar
Gynecologic Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine



The present study aimed to determine clinical IVF parameters and gene expression in cumulus cells (CCs) in obese and normal weighting women after administration of 150 mcg of corifollitropin alfa for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH).


150 mcg of corifollitropin alfa and gonadotropin releasing hormone antagonist were used for COH. Analysis of CC gene expression was performed using quantitative real-time PCR.


We did not find significant differences in biochemical and clinical pregnancy rates between obese and normal weighting women. Obese women required twice as much of additional gonadotropins for ovarian stimulation and had a significantly lower proportion of good quality embryos on day 5 of IVF cycle. Expression of PGR and PTX3 was significantly higher in CCs of obese women.


Obese women require significantly larger amounts of gonadotropins to achieve similar IVF success rates as normal weighting women. Differences in CC gene expression and smaller proportion of good quality embryos may imply that oocytes derived from obese women are of lower quality. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether obesity itself or the higher amount of gonadotropins used in obese women causes this effect.


Obesity Long acting rFSH IVF success rates Molecular oocyte quality 



We thank Dr. Ivan Verdenik for performing statistical analyses and Dr. Rok Košir for performing R-based analysis.

Author contributions

TBP: designed the study, contributed to data analysis, and wrote the manuscript. EVB: supervised the research project and gave final approval. UPZ: performed the lab experiments. MS: collected and analysed data. ASL: contributed to data analysis and manuscript writing. FG: edited the manuscript. NJ: contributed to study design and manuscript editing. All the authors fulfil the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria.


The study was funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja Burnik Papler
    • 1
  • Eda Vrtačnik Bokal
    • 1
  • Uršula Prosenc Zmrzljak
    • 2
    • 3
  • Martin Stimpfel
    • 1
  • Antonio Simone Laganà
    • 4
    Email author return OK on get
  • Fabio Ghezzi
    • 4
  • Nina Jančar
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Gynecology, Department of Human ReproductionUniversity Medical Centre LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Center for Functional Genomics and Biochips, Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.BIA Separations CROLjubljanaSlovenia
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “Filippo Del Ponte” HospitalUniversity of InsubriaVareseItaly

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