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Health Sciences staff profiles

Dr Michael Pankhurst

PositionResearch Fellow
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
QualificationsBSc(Hons) PhD(Tas)
Research summaryThe role of anti-Mullerian hormone in female reproduction

Research

Dr Pankhurst’s research investigates regulation of ovarian follicle development and the quality of the oocyte (egg) within. The role that Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) plays in this process is a key focus of the laboratory. AMH is secreted in an inactive form and the current aim is to determine how proAMH (the inactive precursor of AMH) is converted to AMHN,C in the extracellular environment.

The enzymes that convert proAMH to AMHN,C are expressed in theca cells, which reside in a different location to the cells that produce AMH (granulosa cells). AMH plays roles in regulating the rate of depletion of the ovarian reserve (egg supply) and ovulation, hence finding out how and where AMH becomes activated is essential to understanding these processes.

Other research projects investigate why the depletion of the ovarian reserve needs a regulator such as AMH. Rapid ovarian reserve depletion is thought to be a key determinant of the age of onset of age-related infertility in females. The research utilises human, animal and ovary culture experiments to improve our understanding of reproductive biology and female infertility.

Potential PhD projects:

  • Determination of the location of AMH-activating enzyme activity in the ovary using live-imaging of mouse ovaries and sampling of AMH in human ovaries.
  • Investigation of the molecular pathways by which AMH inhibits primordial follicle activation. The project will next generation sequencing to investigate molecular pathways that are induced when primordial follicles are exposed to AMH.
  • Investigation of the relationship between primordial follicle counts (the ovarian reserve) and fertility in females.

This research is currently funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Publications

McLennan, I. S., Koishi, K., Batchelor, N. J., & Pankhurst, M. W. (2017). Mice with either diminished or elevated levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) have decreased litter sizes. Biology of Reproduction. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/biolre/iox151

Kawagishi, Y., Pankhurst, M. W., Nakatani, Y., & McLennan, I. S. (2017). Anti-Müllerian hormone signalling is influenced by Follistatin 288, but not fourteen other Transforming growth factor beta superfamily regulators. Molecular Reproduction & Development. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22828

Pankhurst, M. W., Shorakae, S., Rodgers, R. J., Teedee, H. J., & Moran, L. J. (2017). Efficacy of predictive models for polycystic ovary syndrome using serum levels of two antimüllerian hormone isoforms (proAMH and AMHN,C). Fertility & Sterility, 108(5), 851-857. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.08.012

Dennis, N. A., Houghton, L. A., Pankhurst, M. W., Harper, M. J., & McLennan, I. S. (2017). Acute supplementation with high dose Vitamin D3 increases serum anti-Müllerian hormone in young women. Nutrients, 9, 719. doi: 10.3390/nu9070719

Chong, Y. H., Pankhurst, M. W., & McLennan, I. S. (2017). The testicular hormones AMH, InhB, INSL3, and testosterone can be independently deficient in older men. Journals of Gerontology Series A, 72(4), 548-553. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glw143

Chapter in Book - Research

McLennan, I. S., Chong, Y. H., Kawagishi, Y., & Pankhurst, M. W. (2016). A critical evaluation of whether criculating anti-Müllerian hormone is a hormone in adults, with special reference to its putative roles in men. In D. B. Seifer & R. Tal (Eds.), Anti-Müllerian hormone: Biology, role in ovarian function and clinical significance. (pp. 209-225). New York: Nova Science.

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Journal - Research Article

McLennan, I. S., Koishi, K., Batchelor, N. J., & Pankhurst, M. W. (2017). Mice with either diminished or elevated levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) have decreased litter sizes. Biology of Reproduction. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/biolre/iox151

Chong, Y. H., Pankhurst, M. W., & McLennan, I. S. (2017). The testicular hormones AMH, InhB, INSL3, and testosterone can be independently deficient in older men. Journals of Gerontology Series A, 72(4), 548-553. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glw143

Dennis, N. A., Houghton, L. A., Pankhurst, M. W., Harper, M. J., & McLennan, I. S. (2017). Acute supplementation with high dose Vitamin D3 increases serum anti-Müllerian hormone in young women. Nutrients, 9, 719. doi: 10.3390/nu9070719

Pankhurst, M. W., Shorakae, S., Rodgers, R. J., Teedee, H. J., & Moran, L. J. (2017). Efficacy of predictive models for polycystic ovary syndrome using serum levels of two antimüllerian hormone isoforms (proAMH and AMHN,C). Fertility & Sterility, 108(5), 851-857. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.08.012

Kawagishi, Y., Pankhurst, M. W., Nakatani, Y., & McLennan, I. S. (2017). Anti-Müllerian hormone signalling is influenced by Follistatin 288, but not fourteen other Transforming growth factor beta superfamily regulators. Molecular Reproduction & Development. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22828

Pankhurst, M. W., & McLennan, I. S. (2016). A specific immunoassay for proAMH, the uncleaved proprotein precursor of anti-Müllerian hormone. Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology, 419, 165-171. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2015.10.013

Pankhurst, M. W., & Chong, Y. H. (2016). Variation in circulating antimüllerian hormone precursor during the periovulatory and acute postovulatory phases of the human ovarian cycle. Fertility & Sterility, 106(5), 1238-1243. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.06.010

Pankhurst, M. W., Clark, C. A., Zarek, J., Laskin, C. A., & McLennan, I. S. (2016). Changes in circulating ProAMH and total AMH during healthy pregnancy and post-partum: A longitudinal study. PLoS ONE, 11(9), e0162509. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162509

Pankhurst, M. W., Leathart, B.-L. A., Batchelor, N. J., & McLennan, I. S. (2016). The anti-Müllerian hormone precursor (proAMH) is not converted to the receptor-competent form (AMHN,C) in the circulating blood of mice. Endocrinology, 157(4), 1622-1629. doi: 10.1210/en.2015-1834

Pankhurst, M. W., Chong, Y. H., & McLennan, I. S. (2016). Relative levels of the proprotein and cleavage-activated form of circulating human anti-Müllerian hormone are sexually dimorphic and variable during the life cycle. Physiological Reports, 4(9), e12783. doi: 10.14814/phy2.12783

McLennan, I. S., & Pankhurst, M. W. (2015). Anti-Müllerian hormone is a gonadal cytokine with two circulating forms and cryptic actions. Journal of Endocrinology, 226, R45-R57. doi: 10.1530/joe-15-0206

Chong, Y. H., Pankhurst, M. W., & McLennan, I. S. (2015). The daily profiles of circulating AMH and INSL3 in men are distinct from the other testicular hormones, Inhibin B and testosterone. PLoS ONE, 10(7), e0133637. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133637

Pankhurst, M. W., Chong, Y. H., & McLennan, I. S. (2014). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay measurements of antimüllerian hormone (AMH) in human blood are a composite of the uncleaved and bioactive cleaved forms of AMH. Fertility & Sterility, 101(3), 846-850. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.12.009

Pankhurst, M. W., & McLennan, I. S. (2013). Human blood contains both the uncleaved precursor of anti-Müllerian hormone and a complex of the NH2- and COOH-terminal peptides. American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology & Metabolism, 305, E1241-E1247. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00395.2013

Pankhurst, M. W., & McLennan, I. S. (2012). Inhibin B and anti-Müllerian hormone/Müllerian-inhibiting substance may contribute to the male bias in autism. Translational Psychiatry, 2, e148. doi: 10.1038/tp.2012.72

Pankhurst, M. W., Gell, D. A., Butler, C. W., Kirkcaldie, M. T. K., West, A. K., & Chung, R. S. (2012). Metallothionein (MT) -I and MT-II expression are induced and cause zinc sequestration in the liver after brain injury. PLoS ONE, 7(2), e31185. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031185

Pankhurst, M. W., Bennett, W., Kirkcaldie, M. T. K., West, A. K., & Chung, R. S. (2011). Increased circulating leukocyte numbers and altered macrophage phenotype correlate with the altered immune response to brain injury in metallothionein (MT) -l/ll null mutant mice. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 8, 172. doi: 10.1186/1742-2094-8-172

Leung, Y. K. J., Pankhurst, M., Dunlop, S. A., Ray, S., Dittmann, J., Eaton, E. D., … Chung, R. S. (2010). Metallothionein induces a regenerative reactive astrocyte phenotype via JAK/STAT and RhoA signalling pathways. Experimental Neurology, 221, 98-106. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2009.10.006

Chung, R. S., Leung, Y. K., Butler, C. W., Chen, Y., Eaton, E. D., Pankhurst, M. W., … Guillemin, G. J. (2009). Metallothionein treatment attenuates microglial activation and expression of neurotoxic quinolinic acid following traumatic brain injury. Neurotoxicity Research, 15(4), 381-389. doi: 10.1007/s12640-009-9044-y

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Journal - Research Other

Pankhurst, M. W. (2017). A putative role for anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) in optimising ovarian reserve expenditure. Journal of Endocrinology, 233(1), R1-R13. doi: 10.1530/joe-16-0522

McLennan, I. S., & Pankhurst, M. W. (2017). Is the understanding of AMH being confounded by study designs that do not adequately reflect that it is an atypical hormone? Human Reproduction, 32(1), 14-17. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dew305

McLennan, I. S., & Pankhurst, M. W. (2016). Methodological considerations in measuring different AMH cleavage forms using ELISA: Validity of proAMH ELISA. Molecular Human Reproduction, 22(5), 373. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gaw021

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