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Open access

Małgorzata Kałużna, Agnieszka Nomejko, Aleksandra Słowińska, Katarzyna Wachowiak-Ochmańska, Katarzyna Pikosz, Katarzyna Ziemnicka, and Marek Ruchała

Background

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

Open access

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

Objective

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.

Methods

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).

Results

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.

Conclusions

Normal weight women with PCOS have higher BP than controls. BP and metabolic screening are relevant also in young normal weight women with PCOS.

Open access

Małgorzata Kałużna, Pola Kompf, Katarzyna Wachowiak-Ochmańska, Jerzy Moczko, Aleksandra Królczyk, Adam Janicki, Karol Szapel, Marian Grzymisławski, Marek Ruchała, and Katarzyna Ziemnicka

Background

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) encompasses endocrine, reproductive and metabolic disturbances. Abdominal pain and bowel movement disturbances are common complaints of PCOS patients. It remains uncertain whether the characteristic features of PCOS are associated with an increased incidence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Methods

In the study, 133 patients with PCOS diagnosed according to international evidence-based guidelines and 72 age- and BMI-matched eumenorrheic controls were enrolled. Anthropometric measurements and biochemical and hormonal characteristics were collected. The Rome IV criteria were used for IBS diagnosis. Quality of life (QoL) and depressive symptoms were also assessed.

Results

IBS symptom prevalence in PCOS was not significantly different than in controls. Hyperandrogenism and simple and visceral obesity did not appear to affect IBS prevalence in PCOS. There were no anthropometric, hormonal or biochemical differences between IBS-PCOS and non-IBS-PCOS patients, apart from IBS-PCOS patients being slightly older and having lower thyroid-stimulating hormone. Metabolic syndrome (MS) prevalence was higher in IBS-PCOS than non-IBS-PCOS. QoL appears to be significantly lower in IBS-PCOS compared to PCOS-only patients. The occurrence of depression was higher in IBS-PCOS vs non-IBS-PCOS patients. At least one alarm symptom was reported by 87.5% of IBS-PCOS; overall, this group experienced more alarm symptoms than the IBS-only group.

Conclusions

Since a link between PCOS and IBS comorbidity and increased MS prevalence was noted, patients presenting with both conditions may benefit from early MS diagnostics and management. The high incidence of alarm symptoms in PCOS women in this study highlights the need for differential diagnosis of organic diseases that could mimic IBS symptoms.

Open access

Rachel Forfar, Mashal Hussain, Puneet Khurana, Jennifer Cook, Steve Lewis, Dillon Popat, David Jackson, Ed McIver, Jeff Jerman, Debra Taylor, Adrian JL Clark, and Li F Chan

The overproduction of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), in conditions such as Cushing’s disease and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), leads to significant morbidity. Current treatment with glucocorticoids does not adequately suppress plasma ACTH, resulting in excess adrenal androgen production. At present, there is no effective medical treatment in clinical use that would directly block the action of ACTH. Such a therapy would be of great clinical value. ACTH acts via a highly selective receptor, the melanocortin-2 receptor (MC2R) associated with its accessory protein MRAP. ACTH is the only known naturally occurring agonist for this receptor. This lack of redundancy and the high degree of ligand specificity suggest that antagonism of this receptor could provide a useful therapeutic strategy in the treatment of conditions of ACTH excess. To this end, we screened an extensive library of low-molecular-weight drug-like compounds for MC2R antagonist activity using a high-throughput homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence cAMP assay in Chinese hamster ovary cells stably co-expressing human MC2R and MRAP. Hits that demonstrated MC2R antagonist properties were counter-screened against the β2 adrenergic receptor and dose–response analysis undertaken. This led to the identification of a highly specific MC2R antagonist capable of antagonising ACTH-induced progesterone release in murine Y-1 adrenal cells and having selectivity for MC2R amongst the human melanocortin receptors. This work provides a foundation for the clinical investigation of small-molecule ACTH antagonists as therapeutic agents and proof of concept for the screening and discovery of such compounds.

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.

Open access

A Daniel Bird, Spencer Greatorex, David Reser, Gareth G Lavery, and Timothy J Cole

Steroid hormones play clinically important and specific regulatory roles in the development, growth, metabolism, reproduction and brain function in human. The type 1 and 2 11-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes (11β-HSD1 and 2) have key roles in the pre-receptor modification of glucocorticoids allowing aldosterone regulation of blood pressure, control of systemic fluid and electrolyte homeostasis and modulation of integrated metabolism and brain function. Although the activity and function of 11β-HSDs is thought to be understood, there exists an open reading frame for a distinct 11βHSD-like gene; HSD11B1L, which is present in human, non-human primate, sheep, pig and many other higher organisms, whereas an orthologue is absent in the genomes of mouse, rat and rabbit. We have now characterised this novel HSD11B1L gene as encoded by 9 exons and analysis of EST library transcripts indicated the use of two alternate ATG start sites in exons 2 and 3, and alternate splicing in exon 9. Relatively strong HSD11B1L gene expression was detected in human, non-human primate and sheep tissue samples from the brain, ovary and testis. Analysis in non-human primates and sheep by immunohistochemistry localised HSD11B1L protein to the cytoplasm of ovarian granulosa cells, testis Leydig cells, and gonadatroph cells in the anterior pituitary. Intracellular localisation analysis in transfected human HEK293 cells showed HSD1L protein within the endoplasmic reticulum and sequence analysis suggests that similar to 11βHSD1 it is membrane bound. The endogenous substrate of this third HSD enzyme remains elusive with localisation and expression data suggesting a reproductive hormone as a likely substrate.

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

Stavroula A Paschou, Eleni Palioura, Dimitrios Ioannidis, Panagiotis Anagnostis, Argyro Panagiotakou, Vasiliki Loi, Georgios Karageorgos, Dimitrios G Goulis, and Andromachi Vryonidou

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of adrenal hyperandrogenism on insulin resistance and lipid profile in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Patients and methods

We studied 372 women with PCOS according to the NIH criteria. 232 age- and BMI-matched women served as controls in order to define adrenal hyperandrogenism (DHEA-S >95th percentile). Then, patients with PCOS were classified into two groups: with adrenal hyperandrogenism (PCOS-AH, n = 108) and without adrenal hyperandrogenism (PCOS-NAH, n = 264). Anthropometric measurements were recorded. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, lipid profile, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and androgen (TT, Δ4A, DHEA-S) concentrations were assessed. Free androgen index (FAI) and homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index were calculated.

Results

Women with PCOS-AH were younger than PCOS-NAH (P < 0.001), but did not differ in the degree and type of obesity. No differences were found in HOMA-IR, total cholesterol, HDL-c, LDL-c and triglyceride concentrations (in all comparisons, P > 0.05). These metabolic parameters did not differ between the two groups even after correction for age. Women with PCOS-AH had lower SHBG (29.2 ± 13.8 vs 32.4 ± 11.8 nmol/L, P = 0.025) and higher TT (1.0 ± 0.2 vs 0.8 ± 0.4 ng/mL, P = 0.05) and Δ4A (3.9 ± 1.2 vs 3.4 ± 1.0 ng/mL, P = 0.007) concentrations, as well as FAI (14.1 ± 8.0 vs 10.2 ± 5.0, P < 0.001). These results were confirmed by a multiple regression analysis model in which adrenal hyperandrogenism was negatively associated with age (P < 0.001) and SHBG concentrations (P = 0.02), but not with any metabolic parameter.

Conclusions

Women with PCOS and adrenal hyperandrogenism do not exhibit any deterioration in insulin resistance and lipid profile despite the higher degree of total androgens.

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

Zeeshan Javed, Maria Papageorgiou, Leigh A Madden, Alan S Rigby, Eric S Kilpatrick, Stephen L Atkin, and Thozhukat Sathyapalan

Context

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.

Objective

To characterise and compare the effects of empagliflozin vs metformin on the circulating levels of EMPs in overweight/obese women with PCOS.

Methods

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.

Results

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).

Conclusions

Short-term administration of empagliflozin and metformin in overweight/obese women with PCOS appear to increase EMPs expressed by endothelial cells during their activation.