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.
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Milène Tetsi Nomigni, Sophie Ouzounian, Alice Benoit, Jacqueline Vadrot, Frédérique Tissier, Sylvie Renouf, Hervé Lefebvre, Sophie Christin-Maitre, and Estelle Louiset
Jan Roar Mellembakken, Azita Mahmoudan, Lars Mørkrid, Inger Sundström-Poromaa, Laure Morin-Papunen, Juha S Tapanainen, Terhi T Piltonen, Angelica Lindén Hirschberg, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Eszter Vanky, Pernille Ravn, Richard Christian Jensen, Marianne Skovsager Andersen, and Dorte Glintborg
Obesity is considered to be the strongest predictive factor for cardio-metabolic risk in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The aim of the study was to compare blood pressure (BP) in normal weight women with PCOS and controls matched for age and BMI.
From a Nordic cross-sectional base of 2615 individuals of Nordic ethnicity, we studied a sub cohort of 793 normal weight women with BMI < 25 kg/m2 (512 women with PCOS according to Rotterdam criteria and 281 age and BMI-matched controls). Participants underwent measurement of BP and body composition (BMI, waist-hip ratio), lipid status, and fasting BG. Data were presented as median (quartiles).
The median age for women with PCOS were 28 (25, 32) years and median BMI was 22.2 (20.7, 23.4) kg/m2. Systolic BP was 118 (109, 128) mmHg in women with PCOS compared to 110 (105, 120) mmHg in controls and diastolic BP was 74 (67, 81) vs 70 (64, 75) mmHg, both P < 0.001. The prevalence of women with BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg was 11.1% (57/512) in women with PCOS vs 1.8% (5/281) in controls, P < 0.001. In women ≥ 35 years the prevalence of BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg was comparable in women with PCOS and controls (12.7% vs 9.8%, P = 0.6). Using multiple regression analyses, the strongest association with BP was found for age, waist circumference, and total cholesterol in women with PCOS.
Normal weight women with PCOS have higher BP than controls. BP and metabolic screening are relevant also in young normal weight women with PCOS.
M A Webb, H Mani, S J Robertson, H L Waller, D R Webb, C L Edwardson, D H Bodicoat, T Yates, K Khunti, and M J Davies
Physical activity has been proposed to be an effective non-pharmacological method of reducing systemic inflammation and therefore may prove particularly efficacious for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who have been shown to have high levels of inflammation and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to assess whether modest changes in daily step count could significantly reduce levels of inflammatory markers in women with PCOS.
Subjects and Methods
Sixty-five women with PCOS were assessed at baseline and again at 6 months. All had been provided with an accelerometer and encouraged to increase activity levels. Multivariate linear regression analyses (adjusted for age, ethnicity, baseline step count, change in BMI and change in accelerometer wear-time) were used to assess changes in daily step count against clinical and research biomarkers of inflammation, CVD and T2DM.
Mean step count/day at baseline was 6337 (±270). An increase in step count (by 1000 steps) was associated with a 13% reduction in IL6 (β: −0.81 ng/L; 95% CI, −1.37, −0.25, P = 0.005) and a 13% reduction in CRP (β: −0.68 mg/L; 95% CI, −1.30, −0.06, P = 0.033). Additionally, there was a modest decrease in BMI (β: 0.20 kg/m2; 95% CI, −0.38, −0.01, P = 0.038). Clinical markers of T2DM and CVD were not affected by increased step count.
Modest increases in step count/day can reduce levels of inflammatory markers in women with PCOS, which may reduce the future risk of T2DM and CVD.
Raymond J Rodgers, Jodie C Avery, Vivienne M Moore, Michael J Davies, Ricardo Azziz, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Lisa J Moran, Sarah A Robertson, Nigel K Stepto, Robert J Norman, and Helena J Teede
Many complex diseases exhibit co-morbidities often requiring management by more than one health specialist. We examined cross-speciality issues that ultimately affect the health and wellbeing of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS was originally described as a reproductive condition but is now recognised to also be a metabolic and psychological condition affecting 8–13% of women of reproductive age. With a four-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes (DM2), the Population Attributable Risk of DM2 that could be avoided if PCOS were eliminated is a substantial 19–28% of women of reproductive age. To determine the extent to which PCOS is an important consideration in diabetes development, we examined publications, funding, guidelines and predictors of risk of developing DM2.
We found that the topic of PCOS appeared in specialist diabetes journals at only 10% the rate seen in endocrinology journals – about 1 in 500 articles. We found research funding to be substantially less than for diabetes and found that diabetes guidelines and predictive tools for DM2 risk mostly ignore PCOS. This is surprising since insulin resistance in women with PCOS has a different aetiology and additionally women with PCOS are at increased risk of becoming overweight or obese – high risk factors for DM2.
We consider the causes of these concerning anomalies and discuss current activities to address the co-morbidities of PCOS, including the recent development of international guidelines, an international PCOS awareness program and potentially changing the name of PCOS to better reflect its metabolic consequences.
Zeeshan Javed, Maria Papageorgiou, Leigh A Madden, Alan S Rigby, Eric S Kilpatrick, Stephen L Atkin, and Thozhukat Sathyapalan
Endothelial microparticles (EMPs) are novel, surrogate biomarkers of endothelial function and have been shown to be elevated in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It remains poorly understood how pharmacological options for managing PCOS affect EMP levels.
To characterise and compare the effects of empagliflozin vs metformin on the circulating levels of EMPs in overweight/obese women with PCOS.
This was a randomised, comparative, 12-week single-centre trial conducted at the Academic Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Centre, Hull, UK. This analysis includes data from 39 overweight/obese women with PCOS who completed the study and were randomised to empagliflozin (15 mg/day) (n = 19) or metformin (1500 mg/day) (n = 20). Blood samples were collected at baseline and 12 weeks after treatment and analysed for specific surface proteins (ICAM-1, VCAM-1, PECAM-1, E-selectin and endoglin) expressed by circulating EMPs using flow cytometry.
In the empagliflozin group, ICAM-1 (P = 0.006), E-selectin (P = 0.016) and VCAM-1 (P = 0.001) EMPs increased significantly following 12 weeks of treatment, but no changes were seen in PECAM-1 (P = 0.93) or endoglin (P = 0.13) EMPs. In the metformin group, VCAM-1 EMPs (P < 0.001) increased significantly after 12 weeks of treatment, whereas all other EMPs remained unchanged. When data were expressed as percentage change from baseline in each group, no significant differences were seen between groups for any biomarker (P-values from 0.22 to 0.80).
Short-term administration of empagliflozin and metformin in overweight/obese women with PCOS appear to increase EMPs expressed by endothelial cells during their activation.
Małgorzata Kałużna, Agnieszka Nomejko, Aleksandra Słowińska, Katarzyna Wachowiak-Ochmańska, Katarzyna Pikosz, Katarzyna Ziemnicka, and Marek Ruchała
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a multi-symptom disorder linked with a range of metabolic and hormonal disturbances. Psychological and sexual aspects of PCOS also need to be considered.
Objective of the study
This study aimed to assess sexual satisfaction (SS) in PCOS patients and eumenorrheic controls (CON). The relationships between SS, depressive symptoms, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and hormonal and metabolic profiles were evaluated.
In this study, 190 patients with PCOS (mean age 26.34 ± 5.47 years) and 197 age-matched CON (mean age 27.12 ± 4.97 years) were enrolled. All subjects completed Polish version of the Sexual Satisfaction Questionnaire (SSQ), WHO Quality of Life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF), and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-Revised (CESD-R) questionnaire. Fasting blood samples were collected to assess hormonal, lipid, and glucose profiles. Anthropometric measures were collected. Metabolic syndrome (MS) was evaluated according to the IDF-AHA/NHLBI criteria.
Patients with PCOS and MS had lower SS vs non-MS-PCOS. There were no significant differences in the level of SS, presence of depressive symptoms, or HRQoL between PCOS and CON (P > 0.05). Negative correlations were found between the SS level and BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-height ratio in PCOS women. However, overweight or obese PCOS women did not differ in SS levels vs normal-weight PCOS patients. The social dimension of WHOQOL-BREF was the only significant predictor of SS in PCOS patients.
SS in PCOS women appears to be undisturbed. However, MS in PCOS patients could negatively influence SS. The level of SS should be assessed in PCOS women, especially if MS is present.
Krzysztof C Lewandowski, Justyna Płusajska, Wojciech Horzelski, Ewa Bieniek, and Andrzej Lewiński
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).
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.
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.
Ling Zhou, Zhexin Ni, Wen Cheng, Jin Yu, Shuai Sun, Dongxia Zhai, Chaoqin Yu, and Zailong Cai
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a chronic endocrine and metabolic disease. Gut microbiota is closely related to many chronic diseases. In this study, we conducted a cross-sectional study and recruited 30 obese (OG) and 30 non-obese (NG) women with PCOS, 30 healthy women (NC) and 11 healthy but obese women (OC) as controls to investigate the characteristic gut microbiota and its metabolic functions in obese and non-obese patients with PCOS. The blood and non-menstrual faecal samples of all the participants were collected and analysed. As a result, the Hirsutism score, LH/FSH and serum T level in NG and OG both increased significantly compared with their controls (P < 0.05). High-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that the abundance and diversity of the gut microbiota changed in patients with PCOS. The linear discriminant analysis (LDA) indicated that Lactococcus was the characteristic gut microbiota in NG, while Coprococcus_2 in OG. Correlation heatmap analysis revealed that the sex hormones and insulin levels in human serum were closely related to the changes in the gut microbiota of NG and OG. Functional prediction analysis demonstrated that the citrate cycle pathway enriched both in NG and OG, and other 12 gut bacterial metabolic pathways enriched in NG. This study highlighted significant differences in the gut microbiota and predictive functions of obese and non-obese women with PCOS, thereby providing insights into the role and function of the gut microbiota that may contribute to the occurrence and development of PCOS in obese and non-obese women.
Thozhukat Sathyapalan, Anne-Marie Coady, Eric S Kilpatrick, and Stephen L Atkin
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.
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).
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.
Mírian Romitti, Vitor C Fabris, Patricia K Ziegelmann, Ana Luiza Maia, and Poli Mara Spritzer
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most prevalent endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age. PCOS has been associated with distinct metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and with autoimmune conditions, predominantly autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). AITD has been reported in 18–40% of PCOS women, depending on PCOS diagnostic criteria and ethnicity. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to summarize the available evidence regarding the likelihood of women with PCOS also having AITD in comparison to a reference group of non-PCOS women. We systematically searched EMBASE and MEDLINE for non-interventional case control, cross-sectional or cohort studies published until August 2017. The Ottawa–Newcastle Scale was used to assess the methodological quality of studies. Statistical meta-analysis was performed with R. Thirteen studies were selected for the present analysis, including 1210 women diagnosed with PCOS and 987 healthy controls. AITD was observed in 26.03 and 9.72% of PCOS and control groups respectively. A significant association was detected between PCOS and chance of AITD (OR = 3.27, 95% CI 2.32–4.63). Notably, after geographical stratification, the higher risk of AITD in PCOS women persisted for Asians (OR = 4.56, 95% CI 2.47–8.43), Europeans (OR = 3.27, 95% CI 2.07–5.15) and South Americans (OR = 1.86, 95% CI 1.05–3.29). AIDT is a frequent condition in PCOS patients and might affect thyroid function. Thus, screening for thyroid function and thyroid-specific autoantibodies should be considered in patients with PCOS even in the absence of overt symptoms. This systematic review and meta-analysis is registered in PROSPERO under number CRD42017079676.