The Mother-Daughter Connection: Does maternal PCOS impact biomarkers and metabolic factors in young adolescents?

Why is this study important?

Marshall University Department of OBGYN has a study evaluating the daughters of women with known polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). 

PCOS involves a history of irregular periods and symptoms of elevated hormones such as testosterone, which can cause acne, hair thinning and/or hair growth on the face. PCOS also can increase an individual’s risk of developing insulin resistance or diabetes and future cardiovascular disease. There appears to be a genetic link to PCOS in some families. It is unknown when the hormonal and metabolic changes occur that can lead to PCOS. 

This study will involve looking at hormonal markers and biomarkers in young adolescents who may be at risk for PCOS.  Specifically, these are adolescent females with mothers that have been diagnosed with PCOS.  Biomarkers are measurable molecules or substances that if present may indicate development of certain diseases.  This study will also measure specific biomarkers that may be predictive of PCOS in the future.

Who can participate in the study?

Adolescent females can participate in the study if they meet the following criteria:

  • They are between the ages of 8-13
  • They have started puberty (some breast or pubic hair changes) but have NOT started their period yet
  • They are able to agree to participate in a research study
  • They have a legal guardian who can be present and sign a consent form
  • They are agreeable to having blood drawn
  • The adolescent’s mother is able to give answers to questions about whether or not she has been diagnosed with PCOS

What about the mother’s history of PCOS?

The study team needs adolescent females with and without moms that have PCOS for comparison.  A mother will be diagnosed with PCOS and her daughter will be placed in the PCOS group if she meets the following criteria:

  • Since age 21, she has fewer than eight periods in a year, or periods that are >3 months apart while not taking hormonal birth control

AND at least one of the following:

  • Since age 21 she has been told that her testosterone is elevated
  • Since age 21 she has significant acne, hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen or back, or scalp hair thinning

What is involved in the study?

Adolescent patients and their mothers will be scheduled for a research visit.  During this visit they will meet with Dr. Jennie Yoost, a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist.  They will sign permission slips to participate in the study.  Dr. Yoost will obtain information including the mother’s history of PCOS (as above) along with the adolescent’s height, weight, blood pressure, and skin and pubertal assessment.  The adolescent will then have a one-time blood draw for hormonal studies and biomarkers.  The guardian and adolescent will be notified of their results.  Adolescents will receive a $25 gift card for participation in the study.

How do I sign up?

If you are interested in participating, you can call 304.691.1458 and leave a message.  You can also email or fill out this form HERE and someone will contact you. 

Study 2138727 was approved by the Marshall University Institutional Review Board #1 on 1-22-24. This study is funded by WVCSTI through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54GM104942.