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