Metabolic Aspects in the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders among women of childbearing age and is associated with a number of metabolic disturbances. It has been hypothesised these women carry an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD) with advancing age.The first aim of this thesis was to establish the prevalence of PCOS-related symptoms in Northern Sweden. The Northern part of the WHO MONICA project was used for this purpose. Based on self-reported menstrual disturbances and hirsutism together with biochemical analyses of free androgen index, the estimated prevalence of PCOS in Northern Sweden was 4.8%, which corresponded with previous prevalence studies.Disturbances in the fibrinolytic system are predictors of future cardiovascular events and measurements of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) activity and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) mass concentration may be used to assess fibrinolytic activity in women with PCOS. From the findings, over-weight women with PCOS had impaired fibrinolysis, especially if they displayed objective biochemical markers of hyperandrogenism. Conversely, lean women with PCOS, displayed no signs of disturbed fibrinolysis.The adipose tissue is an active endocrine organ that produces and releases hormones, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and chemoattractant cytokines. Proinflammatory molecules produced by adipose tissue can be active participants in the development of insulin resistance and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with obesity. The findings suggested being overweight, rather than the PCOS diagnosis per se, was the main explanatory variable for elevated adipose tissue inflammation in PCOS patients.Weight reduction is the primary target for intervention in overweight and obese women with PCOS. When this thesis was planned, no placebo-controlled trials on anti-obesity drugs in women with PCOS had been conducted. Sibutramine in combination with lifestyle intervention resulted in significant weight reduction in overweight women with PCOS. In addition to the weight loss, sibutramine appeared to have a beneficial effect on metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors.