The Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) syndrome is a very heterogeneous clinical disorder due probably to the complex genetic networks controlling human folliculogenesis. Clinical subgroups of POF patients whose aetiology of ovarian failure is based on the same genetic factors are therefore difficult to establish. Some experimental evidence suggests that these genes might be clustered on the female sex chromosome in the POF1 and POF2 loci. This review is aimed to present an overview of the actual structural changes of the X chromosome causing POF, and to present a number of X and autosomal female fertility genes which are probably key genes in human folliculogenesis and are therefore prominent POF candidate genes. Towards the molecular analysis of their functional contribution to the genetic aetiology of POF in the clinic, an interdisciplinary scheme for their diagnostic analysis is presented in a pilot study focussed on chromosome analyses and the expression analysis of some major POF candidate genes (DAZL, DBX, FOXL2, INHa, GDF9, USP9X) in the leukocytes of 101 POF patients. It starts with a comprehensive and significantly improved clinical diagnostic program for this large and heterogenous patient group.
Keywords: POF-syndrome, Turner-syndrome, POF loci and key genes, human folliculogenesis
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