Association of severity of menstrual dysfunction with hyperinsulinemia and dysglycemia in polycystic ovary syndrome

Academic Article


  • STUDY QUESTION: Is the severity of menstrual cyclicity related to hyperinsulinemia and dysglycemia in women with hyperandrogenic polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? SUMMARY ANSWER: Hyperandrogenic PCOS women with amenorrhea, compared to those with oligomenorrhea or eumenorrhea, had a greater risk of post-challenge hyperinsulinemia, which may explain their higher prevalence of dysglycemia. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: PCOS is associated with metabolic dysregulation including insulin resistance (IR) and hyperinsulinemia, risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and other vascular-metabolic morbidities. Although the severity of menstrual cyclicity is associated with IR in PCOS, it is unclear whether, and to what extent, it is related to hyperinsulinemia and glycemic abnormalities. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: We prospectively compared the degree of menstrual cyclicity with the presence of dysglycemia (elevated 1-h plasma glucose ≥155 mg/dl; abnormal glucose tolerance [AGT], including prediabetes and T2DM; and AUC for glucose [G-AUC]) or dynamic state hyperinsulinemia (peak insulin levels either at 1 or 2 h of the oral glucose tolerance test (oGTT) and AUC for insulin [I-AUC]) in 333 hyperandrogenic PCOS women. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: In a tertiary care setting, hyperandrogenic PCOS participants with ovulatory eumenorrhea (Ov-Eumeno, n = 25), anovulatory eumenorrhea (Anov-Eumeno, n = 33), oligomenorrhea (Oligo, n = 150) and amenorrhea (Ameno, n = 125) underwent comprehensive phenotyping and a 2-h 75 g oGTT. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Mean BMI was greater among Ameno women than among Oligo, Anov-Eumeno or Ov-Eumeno women. Adjusting for BMI, the Ameno group demonstrated higher mean 1- and 2-h insulin and glucose, peak insulin and I-AUC and G-AUC, and either had a higher, or tended toward having a higher, prevalence of elevated 1-h glucose level and prevalence of AGT than the Oligo, Anov-Eumeno or Ov-Eumeno groups. In logistic regression, adjusting for BMI, Ameno women were more likely to have: AGT than Oligo women (odds ratio [OR]: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.3 to 4.2); elevated 1-h glucose (OR: 10.2; CI: 1.3-79.7) than those with Ov-Eumeno; and both AGT (OR: 1.7; CI: 1.1-2.6) and elevated 1-h glucose (OR: 1.8; CI: 1.1-2.8) than those with Anov-Eumeno or Ov-Eumeno when combined. Race/ethnicity, age, waist-to-hip ratio, fasting insulin and glucose, and biochemical or clinical measures of hyperandrogenism were similar across the four menstrual categories. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Our study was limited by its cross-sectional nature and by studying women affected by PCOS as defined by the Androgen Excess & PCOS Society criteria (i.e. Rotterdam Phenotypes A, B and C) who were identified in the clinical setting. Consequently, extrapolation of the present data to other PCOS phenotypes (e.g. PCOS Phenotype D) should be made with caution. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: In hyperandrogenic PCOS phenotypes, a history of amenorrhea, compared to oligomenorrhea or eumenorrhea, suggests a more severe cardiometabolic risk, including a higher degree of hyperinsulinemia and greater prevalence of glycemic abnormalities. These findings may assist in refining the treatment and screening guidelines for glycemic abnormalities in PCOS. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This work was supported in part by grants R01-DK073632 and R01-HD29364 from the NIH and an endowment of the Helping Hand of Los Angeles, Inc. (to R.A.). M.D.P. has no competing interests to declare. U.E. is an investor in Concentric Analgesics, Inc. R.A. serves as a consultant for Spruce Biosciences and Fortress Biotech and an advisor for Aurora Forge. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: N/A.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Human Reproduction  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28327443
  • Author List

  • Ezeh U; Pisarska MD; Azziz R
  • Start Page

  • 553
  • End Page

  • 564
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 3