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Bone morphogenetic proteins and the polycystic ovary syndrome

E Leonie AF van Houten1, Joop SE Laven2, Yvonne V Louwers2, Anke McLuskey1, Axel PN Themmen1 and Jenny A Visser1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Room Ee532, Erasmus MC, P.O Box 2040, Rotterdam, CA 3000, The Netherlands

2 Division of Reproductive Medicine, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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Journal of Ovarian Research 2013, 6:32  doi:10.1186/1757-2215-6-32

Published: 30 April 2013



Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is defined by two out of the following three criteria being met: oligo- or anovulation, hyperandrogenism, and polycystic ovaries. Affected women are often obese and insulin resistant. Although the etiology is still unknown, members of the Transforming Growth Factor β (TGFβ) family, including Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), have been implicated to play a role. In this pilot study we aimed to measure serum BMP levels in PCOS patients.


Twenty patients, fulfilling the definition of PCOS according to the Rotterdam Criteria, were randomly selected. Serum BMP2, -4, -6 and −7 levels were measured using commercially available BMP2, BMP4, BMP6 and BMP7 immunoassays.


Serum BMP2, serum BMP4 and serum BMP6 levels were undetectable. Three patients had detectable serum BMP7 levels, albeit at the lower limit of the standard curve.


BMP levels were undetectable in almost all patients. This suggests that with the current sensitivity of the BMP assays, measurement of serum BMP levels is not suitable as a diagnostic tool for PCOS.

BMPs; PCOS; Marker; Assay