Cardiometabolic Effects of Chronic Hyperandrogenemia in a New Model of Postmenopausal Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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Postmenopausal women who have had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and chronic hyperandrogenemia may be at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease than normoandrogenemic postmenopausal women. The cardiometabolic effect of chronic hyperandrogenemia in women with PCOS after menopause is unclear. The present study was performed to test the hypothesis that chronic hyperandrogenemia in aging female rats would have more deleterious effects on metabolic function, blood pressure, and renal function than in normoandrogenemic age-matched females. Female Sprague Dawley were implanted continuously, beginning at 4–5 weeks, with dihydrotestosterone (postmenopausal hyperandrogenemic female [PMHAF]) or placebo pellets (controls), and were studied at 13 months of age. Plasma DHT was 3-fold higher, and estradiol was 90% lower in PMHAF than controls. Body weights were higher; EchoMRI showed greater fat and lean mass; and computed tomography showed more sc and visceral adiposity in PMHAF, but with similar femur length compared with controls. Insulin resistance was present in PMHAF with higher plasma insulin, normal fasting blood glucose, abnormal oral glucose tolerance test, and higher nonfasting blood glucose. Blood pressure (radiotelemetry) was significantly higher and heart rate was lower, and renal function (glomerular filtration rate) was reduced by 40% in PMHAF. Thus the aging chronically hyperandrogenemic female rat is a new model of postmenopausal PCOS, which exhibits insulin resistance and visceral obesity, hypertension, and impairment in renal function. This new model provides a unique tool to study the deleterious effects of chronic androgen excess in postmenopausal females rats.

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