The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Determining ovarian follicle reserve from Anti-Mullerian hormone as detected using dried blood spots gathered in a remote field setting

FELICIA C. MADIMENOS1,2,3, MELISSA A. LIEBERT2,3, TARA J. CEPON2,3, PAULA TALLMAN4, J JOSH. SNODGRASS2,3, LAWRENCE S. SUGIYAMA2,3,5 and THOMAS W. MCDADE4.

1Department of Anthropology, Ithaca College, 2Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, 3Institute of Cognitive and Decision Sciences, University of Oregon, 4Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, 5Center for Evolutionary Psychology, University of California

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Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is a protein produced by the granulosa cells of the ovarian follicles and is well-correlated with the size of the residual ovarian oocyte reserve. Since the reduction of serum AMH levels is an indication of a decline in the ovarian follicular reserves, the hormone has proven useful for fertility assessments in clinical settings. The natural reduction in ovarian oocyte numbers closely parallels fertility declines with advancing age and is also negatively correlated with body size. Recent advancements in biomarker assay technology have allowed for the testing of AMH from dried blood spots gathered using minimally-invasive methods in remote field settings. The present research tested the applicability of this technique using samples collected from 38 indigenous Shuar women (19-46 years old) living in Amazonian Ecuador. We had two main objectives: 1) to examine age-related associations with AMH levels, and 2) to investigate relationship between AMH and anthropometric correlates of reproductive health and developmental life (e.g., height, weight, body mass index, skinfold thickness). Using multiple regression analyses we examined associations among AMH, age, and anthropometric data. AMH levels range from 0.04 – 4.45 ng/mL. Although AMH levels decline significantly with age (p < 0.05), they are not significantly associated with anthropometric measures. As this is a preliminary study, these results may be explained by the small sample size. Nevertheless, we discuss the potential application of this assay in human biology research and establish its potential to illuminate upon female reproductive biology and more specifically, ovarian physiology in non-Western populations.

Support: NSF BCS-1027687; NIH #5DP1OD000516; LSB Leakey Foundation; Wenner-Gren Foundation (7970); National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program University of Oregon and Northwestern University.

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