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Open access

Dorte Glintborg, Hanne Mumm, Jens Juul Holst, and Marianne Andersen


Insulin resistance in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may increase the risk of reactive hypoglycaemia (RH) and decrease glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion. The possible effects of treatment with oral contraceptives (OCP) and/or metformin on GLP-1 secretion and risk of RH in PCOS is undetermined.


Outpatient clinic.

Patients and interventions

Randomized, controlled clinical trial. Ninety women with PCOS were randomized to 12-month treatment with OCP (150 mg desogestrel + 30 mg ethinylestradiol), metformin (2 g/day) or metformin + OCP. Five-hour oral glucose tolerance tests (5-h OGTT) measuring fasting and area under the curve (AUC) for GLP-1, glucose, insulin and C-peptide were performed before and after the intervention period. Sixty-five women completed the study and 34 weight-matched healthy women were included as controls.

Main outcome measures

Changes in GLP-1, glucose, insulin and C-peptide during 5-h OGTT.


Fasting GLP-1 levels increased during metformin + OCP vs OCP treatment, whereas AUC GLP-1 levels were unchanged during medical treatment. The prevalence of reactive hypoglycemia increased from 9/65 to 14/65 after intervention (P < 0.01) and was more common after treatment with metformin + OCP (increase from 3/23 to 6/23, P = 0.01). Reactive hypoglycaemia was associated with higher insulin and C-peptide levels during 5-h OGTT, but was unassociated with BMI and AUC GLP-1. GLP-1 levels were comparable in PCOS vs controls. AUC GLP-1 levels were significantly lower in obese vs lean patients and were inversely associated with BMI.


AUC GLP-1 levels were unchanged during treatment. Increased risk of hypoglycemia during metformin + OCP could be associated with increased insulin secretion.

Open access

Dorte Glintborg, Magda Lambaa Altinok, Pernille Ravn, Kurt Bjerregaard Stage, Kurt Højlund, and Marianne Andersen


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with insulin resistance, adrenal hyperactivity and decreased mental health. We aimed to investigate the changes in adrenal activity, metabolic status and mental health in PCOS during treatment with escitalopram or placebo.


Forty-two overweight premenopausal women with PCOS and no clinical depression were randomized to 12-week SSRI (20 mg escitalopram/day, n = 21) or placebo (n = 21). Patients underwent clinical examination, fasting blood samples, adrenocorticotroph hormone (ACTH) test, 3-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and filled in questionnaires regarding mental health and health-related quality of life (HRQoL): WHO Well-Being Index (WHO-5), Major Depression Inventory (MDI), Short Form 36 (SF-36) and PCOS questionnaire.


Included women were aged 31 (6) years (mean (s.d.)) and had body mass index (BMI) 35.8 (6.5) kg/m2 and waist 102 (12) cm. Escitalopram was associated with increased waist (median (quartiles) change 1 (0; 3) cm), P = 0.005 vs change during placebo and increased cortisol levels (cortisol 0, cortisol 60, peak cortisol and area under the curve for cortisol during ACTH test), all P< 0.05 vs changes during placebo. Escitalopram had no significant effect on measures of insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, fasting lipids, mental health or HRQoL.


Waist circumference and cortisol levels increased during treatment with escitalopram in women with PCOS and no clinical depression, whereas metabolic risk markers, mental health and HRQol were unchanged.

Open access

Dorte Glintborg, Katrine Hass Rubin, Mads Nybo, Bo Abrahamsen, and Marianne Andersen


To investigate risk of thyroid disease in Danish women with PCOS.


National register-based study on women with PCOS in Denmark. 18,476 women had a diagnosis of PCOS in the Danish National Patient Register. PCOS Odense University Hospital (PCOS OUH, n = 1146) was an embedded cohort of women with PCOS and clinical and biochemical examination. Three age-matched controls were included for each woman with PCOS (n = 54,757). The main outcome measures were thyroid disease (hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, goiter, thyroiditis) according to hospital diagnosis codes and/or inferred from filled medicine prescriptions. Associations between baseline TSH and development of cardio-metabolic disease was examined in PCOS OUH.


The median (quartiles) age at inclusion was 29 (23–35) years and follow-up duration was 11.1 (6.9–16.0) years. The hazard ratio (95% CI) for thyroid disease development was 2.5 (2.3–2.7) (P < 0.001). The event rate of thyroid disease was 6.0 per 1000 patient-years in PCOS Denmark versus 2.4 per 1000 patient-years in controls (P < 0.001). Women in PCOS OUH with TSH ≥2.5 mIU/L (n = 133) had higher BMI (median 29 vs 27 kg/m2), wider waist, higher triglycerides and free testosterone by the time of PCOS diagnosis compared to women in PCOS OUH with TSH <2.5 mIU/L (n = 588). Baseline TSH did not predict later development of cardio-metabolic diseases in PCOS OUH.


The event rate of thyroid disease was significantly and substantially higher in women with PCOS compared to controls.

Open access

Søs Dragsbæk Larsen, Christine Dalgård, Mathilde Egelund Christensen, Sine Lykkedegn, Louise Bjørkholt Andersen, Marianne Andersen, Dorte Glintborg, and Henrik Thybo Christesen


Low foetal vitamin D status may be associated with higher blood pressure (BP) in later life.


To examine whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D2+3 (s-25OHD) in cord and pregnancy associates with systolic and diastolic BP (SBP; DBP) in children up to 3 years of age.


Prospective, population-based cohort study.


We included 1594 singletons from the Odense Child Cohort with available cord s-25OHD and BP data at median age 3.7 months (48% girls), 18.9 months (44% girls) or 3 years (48% girls). Maternal s-25OHD was also assessed at gestational ages 12 and 29 weeks. Multiple regression models were stratified by sex a priori and adjusted for maternal educational level, season of birth and child height, weight and age.


In 3-year-old girls, SBP decreased with −0.7 mmHg (95% CI −1.1; −0.3, P = 0.001) and DBP with −0.4 mmHg (95% CI −0.7; −0.1, P = 0.016) for every 10 nmol/L increase in cord s-25OHD in adjusted analyses. Moreover, the adjusted odds of having SBP >90th percentile were reduced by 30% for every 10 nmol/L increase in cord s-25OHD (P = 0.004) and by 64% for cord s-25OHD above the median 45.1 nmol/L (P = 0.02). Similar findings were observed between pregnancy s-25OHD and 3-year SBP, cord s-25OHD and SBP at 18.9 months, and cord s-25OHD and DBP at 3 years. No consistent associations were observed between s-25OHD and BP in boys.


Cord s-25OHD was inversely associated with SBP and DBP in young girls, but not in boys. Higher vitamin D status in foetal life may modulate BP in young girls. The sex difference remains unexplained.

Open access

Pernille Bækgaard Udesen, Dorte Glintborg, Anja Elaine Sørensen, Rikke Svendsen, Nanna Louise Skov Nielsen, Marie Louise Muff Wissing, Marianne Skovsager Andersen, Anne Lis Mikkelsen Englund, and Louise Torp Dalgaard

Metformin is associated with increased insulin sensitivity, whereas oral contraceptive pills (OCP) could increase the risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Certain miRNAs might serve as biomarkers for the risk of T2D. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in circulating miRNA levels during treatment with metformin and OCP in women with PCOS. Sixty-five women with PCOS according to Rotterdam criteria were randomized to metformin (2 g/day), metformin + OCP (150 mg desogestrel + 30 µg ethinylestradiol) or OCP alone for 12 months. Serum miRNA analysis was performed with individual RT-qPCR or Taqman low density array cards of 22 selected miRNAs previously related to PCOS, glucose and/or lipid metabolism. miR-122 and miR-29a levels were decreased after treatment with metformin compared with metformin + OCP and OCP group: miR-122: log2 difference −0.7 (P = 0.01) and −0.7 (P = 0.02), miR-29a: log2 difference −0.5 (P = 0.01) and −0.4 (P = 0.04), while miR-223 levels were decreased in the metformin + OCP group after treatment: log2 difference −0.5 (P = 0.02). During the treatment period, a significant weight loss was observed in the metformin group compared with the OCP group. In the OCP group, miRNA levels were unchanged during the treatment period. Levels of circulating miRNAs associated with lipid and glucose metabolism decreased during metformin treatment. Changes in miRNA levels in the metformin group could be explained by the simultaneous weight loss in the same group. These results support the notion that metformin treatment alone may be superior for metabolic health compared with OCP.

Open access

Jan Roar Mellembakken, Azita Mahmoudan, Lars Mørkrid, Inger Sundström-Poromaa, Laure Morin-Papunen, Juha S. Tapanainen, Terhi Piltonen, Angelica Linden Hirschberg, Elisabeth 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 2,615 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 measurements 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 waist circumference, fasting BG 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.