Reproductive endocrinology and metabolism

Research group leader:

Professor and gynecologist

Angelica Lindén Hirschberg


The research group investigates basic hormonal and genetic links between metabolism and reproductive function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, overweight/underweight, premature ovarian insufficiency and disorder of sex development (DSD).

The overall goal is to improve diagnostics, fertility and long-term health in these patient groups. Menstrual disturbances and hyperandrogenic conditions are common in female elite athletes. Another research area involves hormonal regulation of female sexuality and behaviour.

The research is translational, ranging from experimental in vitro studies to randomized controlled trials and population-based registry studies.

The clinical research is performed at the Women's Health Research Unit, Karolinska, Solna and the experimental part at Bioclinicum, Karolinska Institutet.

Selection of ongoing projects

  • Effects of moderately increased testosterone concentration on physical performance and behaviour in healthy women - a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study

The aim of the study is to investigate the effects of moderate testosterone elevation on aerobic and anaerobic performance, muscle strength, body composition and behavior in young healthy well-trained women in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. In muscle biopsies, changes in morphology, metabolic enzymes and markers for muscle protein synthesis are investigated. The results of this study will play a crucial role for international regulations of endogenous hyperandrogenism in female elite athletes.

  • Novel mechanisms and treatments of endocrine-metabolic dysfunction in polycystic ovary syndrome

In this project, we investigate whether disruption of cell-autonomous circadian clocks is related to PCOS, and if treatments with lifestyle interventions and metformin may affect circadian transcription in these patients. Blood samples and tissue samples are collected from endometrium, adipose tissue and muscle tissue before and after different treatments. The study can lead to a new understanding of the etiology of PCOS and to new treatment principles.

  • Effects of immunomodulatory therapy on gonadal function in women with autoimmune premature ovarian insufficiency

The study aims to investigate whether immunomodulatory therapy can improve and possibly normalize ovarian function in women of fertile age with autoimmune disease and premature ovarian insufficiency. Today, there is no fertility option for this patient group other than egg

  • The effect of insulin and androgens on in vitro decidualization of endometrial stromal cells

The main focus of this project is to characterize the effect of insulin and androgens on in vitro decidualization of endometrial stromal cells. The results will provide increased knowledge of the role of hyperinsulinemia and hyperandrogenism for subfertility and increased risk of pregnancy complications in women with obesity and PCOS.

Group members

PhD students
Emma Eklund
Jona Elings Knutsson
Ivika Palu
Åsa Nybacka
Emilia Rotstein
Anastasia Trouva
Emma Öberg

Post docs
Hedvig Engberg
Mariana Paulson

Senior researchers
Dorina Ujvari
Daniel Salamon
Sebastian Gidlöf
Eva Lundström
Bo von Shoultz

Clinical research staff
Berit Legerstam
Liselott Blomberg


The Swedish Research Council
The Swedish Cancer Society
The Swedish Research Council for Sport Science
Clinical Scientist Training Program