RH GR1: New method to quantify INSL3 by LC-MS/MS: A new diagnostic marker for Leydig cell function

This study is performed at Rigshospitalet Department of Growth and Reproduction in collaboration with University of Lund.

Insulin-like 3 (INSL3) is an insulin like hormone produced mainly in gonadal tissues in males (Leydig cells) and females. Studies suggest that the gene that codes for INSL3 may be involved in the development of urogenital tract and female fertility. It may also act as a hormone to regulate growth, differentiation and play a role in guiding testicular descent. The mutations in this gene may lead to cryptorchidism, which is failure of one or both of the testes to descend into the scrotum. In women, it is produced in lower amounts by ovarian theca and luteal cells, and circulating levels are increased in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Quantification of INSL3 is currently based on in-house or commercially available immuno-assays (ELISA) associated with great variation and suspected lack of selectivity most likely due to cross-reactivity, which is also observed for other types of immuno-assays, e.g. for steroid hormones. Thus, development of a stable, sensitive and selective method for quantification of INSL3 in serum is of high priority.

The goal of this study is to develop the first quantitative method for INSL3 in serum based on highly sensitive and selective liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This will improve diagnostic procedures of patients with reproductive disorders.

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