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Hulde, Nikolai; Rogenhofer, N.; Brettner, F.; Eckert, N. C.; Fetz, I; Buchheim, J-; Kammerer, T.; Dendorfer, A.; Chouker, A.; Hofmann-Kiefer, K. F.; Rehm, M. and Thaler, C. (2021): Effects of controlled ovarian stimulation on vascular barrier and endothelial glycocalyx: a pilot study. In: Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, Vol. 38, No. 9: pp. 2273-2282

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Purpose Controlled ovarian stimulation significantly amplifies the number of maturing and ovulated follicles as well as ovarian steroid production. The ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) increases capillary permeability and fluid extravasation. Vascular integrity intensely is regulated by an endothelial glycocalyx (EGX) and we have shown that ovulatory cycles are associated with shedding of EGX components. This study investigates if controlled ovarian stimulation impacts on the integrity of the endothelial glycocalyx as this might explain key pathomechanisms of the OHSS. Methods Serum levels of endothelial glycocalyx components of infertility patients (n=18) undergoing controlled ovarian stimulation were compared to a control group of healthy women with regular ovulatory cycles (n=17). Results Patients during luteal phases of controlled ovarian stimulation cycles as compared to normal ovulatory cycles showed significantly increased Syndecan-1 serum concentrations (12.6 ng/ml 6.11(25th)-19.13(75th) to 13.9 ng/ml 9.6(25th)-28.9(75th);p=0.026), indicating shedding and degradation of the EGX. Conclusion A shedding of EGX components during ovarian stimulation has not yet been described. Our study suggests that ovarian stimulation may affect the integrity of the endothelial surface layer and increasing vascular permeability. This could explain key features of the OHSS and provide new ways of prevention of this serious condition of assisted reproduction.

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