Role and regulation of ovarian stem cells during follicular development and dysregulation in PCOS

The polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a multi-factorial heterogeneous syndrome with complex pathologies, affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age and accounts for 75% of anovulatory infertility. The annual costs of PCOS and associated infertility in Canada are staggering and are estimated to be $450M. Tissue-residing stem cells play important roles in the regulation of various physiological and pathological processes, through self-renewal, differentiation and cell-cell communication to maintain tissue homoeostasis and mediate repair and regeneration. The proposed research is to determine if and how ovarian stem cells are involved in the regulation of follicular growth and how these cellular mechanisms are altered in PCOS.
The proposed studies will show, for the first time, if and how ovarian stem cells mediate androgen actions by targeting granulosa cells through exosomes release. Moreover, we will determine if VSEL stem cells differentiate into granulosa/theca cells during normal follicle development and in PCOS. Our findings will improve current understanding of the pathogenesis of PCOS, thus laying the foundation for development of novel therapeutics geared towards disease management, prevention and effective treatment.

Faculty Supervisor:

Benjamin Tsang


Fereshteh Esfandiarinezhad








University of Ottawa


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