CFTR and FOXO1 gene expression are reduced and high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is increased in the ovaries and serum of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome

Francesca Cirillo, Cecilia Catellani, Chiara Sartori, Pietro Lazzeroni, Daria Morini, Alessia Nicoli, Paolo Giorgi-Rossi, Sergio Amarri, Giovanni B. La Sala, Maria E. Street

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We previously described increased HMGB1 and reduced FOXO1 dependent on CFTR loss of function in cystic fibrosis (CF) and we showed in vitro that HMGB1 was lowered by insulin. Reduced CFTR gene expression has been described in granulosa cells (GC) from PCOS-induced rats. We aimed at studying CFTR and FOXO1 gene expression in GC, HMGB1 concentrations in serum and follicular fluids (FF), and insulin and IL-6 in FF in PCOS women. Thirty PCOS and 36 non-PCOS women (CTRL) undergoing in vitro fertilization were enrolled. CFTR and FOXO1 gene expression were downregulated in PCOS (p ≤.05). HMGB1 was higher in PCOS both in FF (p ≤.05) and in serum (p <.005) whereas insulin was lower, and IL-6 was unchanged with respect to controls. 17-β estradiol was higher in PCOS than in CTRL (p ≤.005). HMGB1 correlated negatively with insulin in FF (p ≤.005). The increase in HMGB1 both in FF and in serum, likely reflects both low grade inflammation and insulin sensitivity. IL-6 was unchanged possibly reflecting functions other than inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGynecological Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • CFTR
  • FOXO1
  • HMGB1
  • IL-6
  • inflammation
  • insulin
  • PCOS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Cite this