Dr Marie Louise WISSING - MD, PhD student at Holbaek Fertility Clinic/ University of Copenhagen. DENMARK
Dr Marie Louise Wissing graduated as Medical Doctor from University of Copenhagen in 2006. After graduation, she did one year of research training at University of Copenhagen in the field of cardiovascular research and one year of internship at Holbaek Hospital. After internship she has been working at Holbaek Fertility Clinic, and is currently a PhD student at Holbaek Fertility Clinic/ University of Copenhagen. The subject of her PhD project is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and infertility, with special emphasis on oocyte quality in PCOS patients and non-invasive measures of oocyte quality. Her PhD project is part of the Danish PICOLO study, a Danish multicenter PCOS study.
Project: MicroRNA profiling of Serum, Follicular fluid and Cumulus cells
From January 2010 we have enrolled women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and healthy, regularly cycling women referred to fertility treatment because of male infertility, in the research project “PICOLO (PCOS, Infertility, Cardiovascular and Obstetric risk markers and Longterm Outcome)”. We prospectively collected biobank blood samples at baseline for 112 patients, distributed on 64 PCOS patients, 26 PCOS patients on longterm metformin treatment and 22 healthy women. Patients were matched for age and BMI. For patients (N=68) undergoing in vitro fertilisation with ICSI, we further collected blood at oocyte retrieval, follicular fluid from the first punctured follicle on each ovary and cumulus cells from individual oocytes, which were then fertilised and tracked in a time lapse incubator until the blastocyst stage.
MicroRNAs are small, noncoding RNA molecules expressed in many tissues. MicroRNAs are extremely stable towards freeze-thawing and degradation by endogenous RNAses. The function of microRNAs is to regulate gene expression. MicroRNAs and human reproduction have only been sparsely investigated so far. It has been shown that the expression of microRNAs in cumulus cells were associated with live birth and that follicular fluid microRNA profile differed between PCOS and healthy oocyte donors, but the PCOS group was significantly older than the control group. This difference could therefore be because of age rather than PCOS.
We would like to test biobank serum, follicular fluid and cumulus cells from individual oocytes for the expression of microRNAs previously shown to be related to insulin resistance, hyperandrogenaemia, PCOS and live birth, and to relate the microRNA expression levels to PCOS phenotype and oocyte quality. We propose that microRNAs can be a future diagnostic tool for optimizing long-term care for PCOS patients and that microRNA expression in cumulus cells have the potential to serve as biomarkers of oocyte quality.