Study Update: Overcoming ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome via kisspeptin

Imperial CRF are bringing you an exciting update from our study Kiss IVF with Professor Waljit Dhillo. Professor Dhillo’s research suggests that kisspeptin will prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

Infertility affects 1 in 6 couples in the UK, which is estimated to amount to 3.5 million people. An effective treatment for infertility is In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and successfully used to enable infertile couples to conceive. However, IVF treatment can result in the potentially life threatening condition, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) that occurs in 1 in 10 women. This research looked to use a recently discovered naturally occurring reproductive hormone called ‘kisspeptin’ in place of the currently used medication thought to be responsible for this dangerous side effect.

The first human trial using kisspeptin in IVF treatment took place on 53 volunteer couples. Eggs were successfully collected from 51 women (96%) and 12 healthy babies were born. A further trial was carried out in 60 women at high risk of OHSS, such as those with polycystic ovaries (PCOS). Despite being at high risk of OHSS, none of the women in the trial developed moderate or severe OHSS. Interestingly, pregnancy rates in the trial were at least as good as standard IVF with 30 being babies being born.

We hope that this research study will lead to safer and more effective treatments for infertility in the future. Professor Dhillo’s team will now carry out larger trials to fully assess how kisspeptin compares with current treatments.

Kiss IVF was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in September 2015. This work was supported by grants from the Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

To find out more about taking part in research contact or sign up to the healthy volunteer database here.

1) Kawwass JF, Kissin DM, Kulkarni AD, et al. Safety of assisted reproductive technology in the United States, 2000–2011. JAMA. 2015;313(1):88–90.

2) Delvigne A, Rozenberg S. Epidemiology and prevention of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): A review. Hum Reprod Update. 2002;8(6):559–577.

3) Wada I, Matson PL, Troup SA, Lieberman BA. Assisted conception using buserelin and human menopausal gonadotrophins in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1993;100(4):365–369.

4) Jayasena CN, Abbara A, Comninos AN, Nijher GM, Christopoulos G, Narayanaswamy S, Izzi-Engbeaya C, Sridharan M, Mason AJ, Warwick J, Ashby D, Ghatei MA, Bloom SR, Carby A, Trew GH, Dhillo WS. Kisspeptin-54 triggers egg maturation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization. J Clin Invest. 2014 Aug;124(8):3667-77.

5) Abbara A, Jayasena CN, Christopoulos G, Narayanaswamy S, Izzi-Engbeaya C, Nijher GM, Comninos AN, Peters D, Buckley A, Ratnasabapathy R, Prague JK, Salim R, Lavery SA, Bloom SR, Szigeti M, Ashby DA, Trew GH, Dhillo WS. Efficacy of Kisspeptin-54 to Trigger Oocyte Maturation in Women at High Risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) During In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Therapy. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Sep;100(9):3322-31.

Study Update: Overcoming ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome via kisspeptin