Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a clinical syndrome characterized by hyperandrogenism, oligo/anovulation, and polycystic ovary. Autophagy is an intracellular system that degrades cytosolic proteins and organelles. The relationship between autophagy and PCOS has not been clarified. We found that p62 and ubiquitin were significantly increased in theca cells of women with PCOS using immunohistochemistry. Autophagy inhibition by palmitic acid and chloroquine in bovine theca cells increased p62 and ubiquitin and induced the expression of cytochrome P450 17A1 (CYP17A1) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) mRNA. Furthermore, palmitic acid and chloroquine exposure significantly increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activated p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Inhibition of p38 and JNK significantly reduced CYP17A1 and PAI-1 mRNA expression. We showed that inhibition of autophagy in theca cells may have contributed to the pathogenesis of PCOS, based on CYP17A1 and PAI-1 mRNA expression via the ROS/p38 and JNK signalling pathways.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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