Insights into the autoimmune aspect of premature ovarian insufficiency

Kassem Sharif, Abdulla Watad, Charlie Bridgewood, Darja Kanduc, Howard Amital, Yehuda Shoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) refers to a continuum of decreasing ovarian function in women before the age of 40. To date, the cause of POI in the majority of cases remain unresolved. Many cases has been linked to genetic, toxic, infections, enzymatic and iatrogenic causes. A key function of the immune system is to identify and differentiate “self” and “non self” i.e. tolerance. Loss of self-tolerance results in an immune response against self-tissues and thus autoimmunity. Various investigations have highlighted the role of autoimmunity and its pertinence to POI. Several potential immune antigenic targets in the ovary have been reported to be involved in autoantibody induced autoimmune attack. The presence of lymphocytic oöphorits in ovarian samples of patients with POI provides histopathological evidence of autoimmune ovarian involvement. Finally, POI is strongly associated with other autoimmune conditions including for instance Addison disease, autoimmune polyglandular syndrome (APS) −1, APS-4, hypothyroidism, and diabetes mellitus among other autoimmune diseases. Taken together, these lines of evidence provide strong basis that support the role of autoimmunity as a potential cause of disease etiopathogenesis. Continuing research is increasingly providing more insight into the complex disease process. The aim of this review is to summarize the current literature related to the autoimmune nature of POI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101323
JournalBest Practice and Research in Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • animal models
  • autoantibodies
  • autoimmunity
  • lymphocytic oöphorits
  • primary ovarian insufficiency


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