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Open access

Shilpa Lingaiah, Laure Morin-Papunen, Terhi Piltonen, Inger Sundström-Poromaa, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, and Juha S Tapanainen

Objective

Serum levels of retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), an adipokine thought to affect systemic insulin sensitivity, were compared between women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and non-PCOS controls to evaluate the association of RBP4 with clinical, hormonal and metabolic parameters of PCOS.

Subjects and methods

Serum RBP4 levels were analysed in 278 women with PCOS (age range 18–57 years) and 191 non-PCOS controls (age 20–53 years) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results

Serum levels of RBP4 were increased in women with PCOS compared with control women in the whole population (45.1 ± 24.0 (s.d.) vs 33.5 ± 18.3 mg/L, P < 0.001). Age-stratified analysis showed that serum RBP4 levels were increased in women with PCOS aged ≤30 years compared with controls (47.7 ± 23.5 vs 27.1 ± 10.4 mg/L, P < 0.001), whereas no significant differences were seen in the other age groups. No significant correlations of RBP4 were seen with either steroids or indices of insulin resistance.

Conclusions

Although serum RBP4 levels were increased in younger women with PCOS compared with age-matched non-PCOS controls, RBP4 does not seem to be a good marker of insulin resistance or other metabolic derangements in women with PCOS.

Open access

Henrik H Thomsen, Holger J Møller, Christian Trolle, Kristian A Groth, Anne Skakkebæk, Anders Bojesen, Christian Høst, and Claus H Gravholt

Soluble CD163 (sCD163) is a novel marker linked to states of low-grade inflammation such as diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and atherosclerosis, all prevalent in subjects with Turner syndrome (TS) and Klinefelter syndrome (KS). We aimed to assess the levels of sCD163 and the regulation of sCD163 in regards to treatment with sex hormone therapy in males with and without KS and females with and without TS. Males with KS (n=70) and age-matched controls (n=71) participating in a cross-sectional study and 12 healthy males from an experimental hypogonadism study. Females with TS (n=8) and healthy age-matched controls (n=8) participating in a randomized crossover trial. The intervention comprised of treatment with sex steroids. Males with KS had higher levels of sCD163 compared with controls (1.75 (0.47–6.90) and 1.36 (0.77–3.11) respectively, P<0.001) and the levels correlated to plasma testosterone (r=−0.31, P<0.01), BMI (r=0.42, P<0.001), and homeostasis model of assessment insulin resistance (r=0.46, P<0.001). Treatment with testosterone did not significantly lower sCD163. Females with TS not receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) had higher levels of sCD163 than those of their age-matched healthy controls (1.38±0.44 vs 0.91±0.40, P=0.04). HRT and oral contraceptive therapy decreased sCD163 in TS by 22% (1.07±0.30) and in controls by 39% (0.55±0.36), with significance in both groups (P=0.01 and P=0.04). We conclude that levels of sCD163 correlate with endogenous testosterone in KS and are higher in KS subjects compared with controls, but treatment did not significantly lower levels. Both endogenous and exogenous estradiol in TS was associated with lower levels of sCD163.

Open access

Renata C Scalco, Ericka B Trarbach, Edoarda V A Albuquerque, Thais K Homma, Thais H Inoue-Lima, Mirian Y Nishi, Berenice B Mendonca, and Alexander A L Jorge

Most patients with Turner syndrome (TS) need hormone replacement therapy because of hypergonadotropic hypogonadism; individual outcomes, however, are highly variable. Our objective was to assess the influence of five estrogen receptor 1 gene (ESR1) polymorphisms (rs543650, rs1038304, rs2046210, rs2234693 and rs9340799) on adult height, breast development, uterine volume and bone mineral density (BMD). We studied 91 TS patients from a tertiary hospital using adult estrogen dose. In our group, ESR1 rs2234693 was associated with femoral neck and total hip BMD, and it accounted for around 10% of BMD variability in both sites (P < 0.01). Patients homozygous for C allele in this polymorphism had significantly lower femoral neck BMD (0.699 ± 0.065 g/cm2 vs 0.822 ± 0.113 g/cm2, P = 0.008) and total hip BMD (0.777 ± 0.118 g/cm2 vs 0.903 ± 0.098 g/cm2, P = 0.009) than patients homozygous for T allele. The other four ESR1 polymorphisms were not able to predict any of the above estrogen therapy outcomes in an isolated manner. Patients homozygous for the haplotype GCG formed by polymorphisms rs543650, rs2234693 and rs9340799 had an even more significantly lower femoral neck BMD (0.666 ± 0.049 vs 0.820 ± 0.105 g/cm2, P = 0.0047) and total hip BMD (0.752 ± 0.093 vs 0.908 ± 0.097 g/cm2, P = 0.0029) than patients homozygous for haplotypes with a T allele in rs2234693. In conclusion, homozygosity for C allele in ESR1 rs2234693 and/or for GCG haplotype appears to be associated with lower femoral neck and total hip BMD. We believe that the identification of polymorphisms related to estrogen outcomes may contribute to individualization of treatment in TS.

Open access

Bruno Donadille, Muriel Houang, Irène Netchine, Jean-Pierre Siffroi, and Sophie Christin-Maitre

Human 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency (3b-HSD) is a very rare form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia resulting from HSD3B2 gene mutations. The estimated prevalence is less than 1/1,000,000 at birth. It leads to steroidogenesis impairment in both adrenals and gonads. Few data are available concerning adult testicular function in such patients. We had the opportunity to study gonadal axis and testicular function in a 46,XY adult patient, carrying a HSD3B2 mutation. He presented at birth a neonatal salt-wasting syndrome. He had a micropenis, a perineal hypospadias and two intrascrotal testes. HSD3B2 gene sequencing revealed a 687del27 homozygous mutation. The patient achieved normal puberty at the age of 15 years. Transition from the paediatric department occurred at the age of 19 years. His hormonal profile under hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone treatments revealed normal serum levels of 17OH-pregnenolone, as well as SDHEA, ACTH, total testosterone, inhibin B and AMH. Pelvic ultrasound identified two scrotal testes of 21 mL each, without any testicular adrenal rest tumours. His adult spermatic characteristics were normal, according to WHO 2010 criteria, with a sperm concentration of 57.6 million/mL (N > 15), 21% of typical forms (N > 4%). Sperm vitality was subnormal (41%; N > 58%). This patient, in contrast to previous reports, presents subnormal sperm parameters and therefore potential male fertility in a 24-years-old patient with severe 3b-HSD deficiency. This case should improve counselling about fertility of male patients carrying HSD3B2 mutation.

Open access

Vittorio Unfer, Fabio Facchinetti, Beatrice Orrù, Barbara Giordani, and John Nestler

Myo-inositol (MI) supplementation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been evaluated over the last years. Many hormonal and reproductive impairments associated with this disorder seem relieved by the supplement. The objective of the meta-analysis was to assess the effects of MI alone or combined with d-chiro-inositol (DCI) on the endocrine and metabolic abnormalities of women with PCOS. Literature was retrieved from selected databases, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed and Research Gate (up to November 2016). Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effects of MI alone or combined with DCI were reviewed. Nine RCTs involving 247 cases and 249 controls were included. Significant decreases in fasting insulin (SMD = −1.021 µU/mL, 95% CI: −1.791 to −0.251, P = 0.009) and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index (SMD = −0.585, 95% CI: −1.145 to −0.025, P = 0.041) were identified after MI supplementation. The trial sequential analysis of insulin meta-analysis illustrates that the cumulative z-curve crossed the monitoring boundary, providing firm evidence of the intervention effect. A slight trend toward a reduction of testosterone concentration by MI with respect to controls was found (SMD = −0.49, 95% CI: −1.072 to 0.092, P = 0.099), whereas androstenedione levels remained unaffected. Throughout a subgroup’s meta-analysis, a significant increase in serum SHBG was observed only in those studies where MI was administered for at least 24 weeks (SMD = 0.425 nmol/L, 95% CI: 0.050–0.801, P = 0.026). These results highlight the beneficial effect of MI in improving the metabolic profile of women with PCOS, concomitantly reducing their hyperandrogenism.

Open access

Xiying Zeng, Yinxiang Huang, Mulin Zhang, Chen Yun, Ye Jiawen, Yan Han, Ma Danyan, Xin Zheng, Xiaohong Yan, and Changqin Liu

Objective: Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is recognized as the most important biomarker for ovarian reserve. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to explore the potential association of AMH with central obesity or general obesity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 179 patients with PCOS were enrolled and underwent anthropometric measurements (BMI and waist circumference (WC)) and serum AMH level detection. Pearson's correlation and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to determine associations of AMH with central obesity and general obesity.

Results: Subjects with the increasing of body mass index (BMI) showed significantly lower values of AMH (median (IQR) 8.95 (6.03-13.60) ng/mL in normal weight group, 6.57 (4.18-8.77) ng/mL in overweight group, and 6.03 (4.34-9.44) ng/mL in obesity group, respectively, p=0.001), but higher levels of systolic blood pressure, fasting insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and obesity indices (WC, hip circumferences, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) and Chinese visceral adiposity index (CVAI)) respectively. Compared with the group of PCOS women without central obesity, the group with central obesity had significantly lower value of AMH (median (IQR) 8.56(5.29-12.96) vs. 6.22(4.33-8.82) ng/mL; p=0.003). Pearson’s correlation analysis showed that AMH were significantly and negatively correlated with BMI (r=-0.280; p<0.001), WC (r=-0.263; p<0.001), WHtR (r=-0.273; p<0.001), and CVAI (r=-0.211; p=0.006) respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis with adjustment for potential confounding factors showed that AMH was independently and negatively associated with central obesity, but was not significantly associated with general obesity.

Conclusions: AMH was independently and negatively associated with central obesity. Closely monitoring WC and AMH should be addressed in terms of assessing ovarian reserve in women with PCOS.

Open access

Xia Wu, Zhiling Li, Wenjiang Sun, and Huan Zheng

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women. Hyperhomocysteinemia (H-Hcy) is closely related to arterial stiffness (AS) in patients with cardiovascular disease. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between serum homocysteine(Hcy) level and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) in Chinese women with PCOS. A total of 124 PCOS women were enrolled and divided into two groups according to their baPWV values: normal, baPWV < 1400 cm/s and high AS, baPWV ≥ 1400 cm/s. Univariate analysis was performed to investigate the relative factors for baPWV, and multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate the association of Hcy with baPWV. The group with high AS (n = 35) had higher Hcy levels than the other group (n = 89; P < 0.05). Moreover, univariate analysis revealed that serum Hcy was positively correlated with baPWV (r = 0.133, P < 0.01). In multiple regression analysis, the age-adjusted serum Hcy level was positively correlated with baPWV (β = 0.201, P < 0.01). It remained positively associated with baPWV (β = 0.145, P < 0.01) after further adjustments for age, BMI, PCOS duration, systolic blood pressure, and homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance as well as several other factors correlated with baPWV. Our results demonstrated that H-Hcy was significantly and independently related to elevated baPWV, suggesting that Hcy might play a role in the pathologic process of AS in women with PCOS. Further researches with more subjects are needed to explore whether Hcy would be a promising biomarker for the stratification management of PCOS women.

Open access

Krzysztof C Lewandowski, Justyna Płusajska, Wojciech Horzelski, Ewa Bieniek, and Andrzej Lewiński

Background

Though insulin resistance (IR) is common in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), there is no agreement as to what surrogate method of assessment of IR is most reliable.

Subjects and methods

In 478 women with PCOS, we compared methods based on fasting insulin and either fasting glucose (HOMA-IR and QUICKI) or triglycerides (McAuley Index) with IR indices derived from glucose and insulin during OGTT (Belfiore, Matsuda and Stumvoll indices).

Results

There was a strong correlation between IR indices derived from fasting values HOMA-IR/QUICKI, r = −0.999, HOMA-IR/McAuley index, r = −0.849 and between all OGTT-derived IR indices (e.g. r = −0.876, for IRI/Matsuda, r = −0.808, for IRI/Stumvoll, and r = 0.947, for Matsuda/Stumvoll index, P < 0.001 for all), contrasting with a significant (P < 0.001), but highly variable correlation between IR indices derived from fasting vs OGTT-derived variables, ranging from r = −0.881 (HOMA-IR/Matsuda), through r = 0.58, or r = −0.58 (IRI/HOMA-IR, IRI/QUICKI, respectively) to r = 0.41 (QUICKI/Stumvoll), and r = 0.386 for QUICKI/Matsuda indices. Detailed comparison between HOMA-IR and IRI revealed that concordance between HOMA and IRI was poor for HOMA-IR/IRI values above 75th and 90th percentile. For instance, only 53% (70/132) women with HOMA-IR >75th percentile had IRI value also above 75th percentile. There was a significant, but weak correlation of all IR indices with testosterone concentrations.

Conclusions

Significant number of women with PCOS can be classified as being either insulin sensitive or insulin resistant depending on the method applied, as correlation between various IR indices is highly variable. Clinical application of surrogate indices for assessment of IR in PCOS must be therefore viewed with an extreme caution.

Open access

Thozhukat Sathyapalan, Anne-Marie Coady, Eric S Kilpatrick, and Stephen L Atkin

Background

There is an increased risk of developing T2DM in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and there is evidence that statins improve metabolic parameters in these patients. However, there are some data to show that statins increase the risk of incipient diabetes.

Materials and methods

We have previously shown that 12 weeks of atorvastatin improves insulin resistance when measured using HOMA-IR. This post hoc analysis was designed to look at the effect of atorvastatin on pancreatic β cell function using HOMA-β in the same study. In this randomised, double-blind placebo controlled study, 40 medication-naïve patients with PCOS were randomised to either atorvastatin 20 mg daily or placebo for 3 months. A 3-month extension study for both groups of patients was undertaken with metformin 1500 mg daily after completing initial 3 months of atorvastatin or placebo.

Results

There was a significant reduction in HOMA-β (240 ± 3.2 vs 177 ± 2.3; P value <0.01) after 12 weeks of atorvastatin treatment, which was maintained by metformin in the subsequent 12 weeks. There were no changes in HOMA-β after the placebo or after subsequent metformin treatment.

There was no linear correlation between reduction in HOMA-β with improvement of free androgen index (FAI) (r 2 = 0.02; P = 0.72), testosterone (r 2 = 0.13; P = 0.49), SHBG (r 2 = 0.22; P = 0.48), hsCRP (r 2 = 0.19; P = 0.64), triglycerides (r 2 = 0.09; P = 0.12), total cholesterol (r 2 = 0.11; P = 0.32) or LDL-C (r 2 = 0.19; P = 0.38).

Conclusion

Treatment with atorvastatin for 12 weeks in women with PCOS significantly reduced HOMA-β. This could be potentially due to fall in β-cell requirement with improvement of insulin resistance rather than a reduction of β-cell function.

Open access

Milène Tetsi Nomigni, Sophie Ouzounian, Alice Benoit, Jacqueline Vadrot, Frédérique Tissier, Sylvie Renouf, Hervé Lefebvre, Sophie Christin-Maitre, and Estelle Louiset

Hirsutism induced by hyperandrogenism can be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, 21-hydroxylase (OH) deficiency or androgen-secreting tumors, including ovarian and adrenal tumors. Adrenal androgen-secreting tumors are frequently malignant. Adrenal oncocytomas represent rare causes of hyperandrogenism. The aim of the study was to investigate steroidogenic enzyme expression and steroid secretion in an androgen-secreting adrenal oncocytoma in a young woman presenting with hirsutism. Hyperandrogenism was diagnosed on the basis of elevated plasma Δ4-androstenedione and testosterone levels. Pelvic ultrasound was normal, CT scanning revealed a right adrenal mass. Androgens were assessed in adrenal and ovarian vein samples and proved a right adrenal origin. Adrenalectomy normalized androgen levels and the adrenal tumor was diagnosed as an oncocytoma. Real time-PCR, immunohistochemistry and cell culture studies were performed on tumor explants to investigate the steroid secretion profile. Among enzymes required for cortisol synthesis, 17α-OH and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (3β-HSD2) were highly expressed whereas 21-OH and 11β-OH were weakly produced at the mRNA and/or protein levels. Enzymes involved in testosterone production, 17β-HSD5 and 17β-HSD3, were also detected. ACTH receptor was present in the tissue. Cortisol, Δ4-androstenedione and testosterone secretions by cultured cells were increased by ACTH. These results provide the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of abnormal expression profile of steroidogenic enzymes in an adrenocortical oncocytoma. Our results also indicate that Δ4-androstenedione hypersecretion resulted from high 17α-OH and 3β-HSD2 expression in combination with low expression of 21-OH and 11β-OH. Testosterone production was ascribed to occurrence of 17β-HSD5 and 17β-HSD3. Finally, our results indicate that androgen secretion was stimulated by ACTH.