Hyperandrogenism Accompanies Increased Intra-Abdominal Fat Storage in Normal Weight Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Women

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Abstract

Context:

Normal weight polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) women may have altered adipose structure-function underlying metabolic dysfunction.

Objective:

This study examines whether adipose structure-functional changes exist in normal weight PCOS women and correlate with hyperandrogenism and/or hyperinsulinemia.

Design:

This is a prospective cohort study.

Setting:

The setting was an academic medical center.

Patients:

Six normal weight PCOS women and 14 age- and body mass index-matched normoandrogenic ovulatory (NL) women were included.

Intervention(s):

All women underwent circulating hormone and metabolic measurements; frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance testing; total body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; abdominal magnetic resonance imaging; and SC abdominal fat biopsy.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Circulating hormones and metabolites, body fat and its distribution, and adipocyte size were compared between PCOS and NL women, and were correlated with each other in all women.

Results:

Circulating LH and androgen levels were significantly greater in PCOS than NL women, as were fasting insulin levels, pancreatic β-cell responsiveness to glucose, and total abdominal fat mass. Intra-abdominal fat mass also was significantly increased in PCOS women and was positively correlated with circulating androgen, fasting insulin, triglyceride, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in all women. SC abdominal fat mass was not significantly increased in PCOS women, but contained a greater proportion of small SC abdominal adipocytes that positively correlated with serum androgen levels in all women.

Conclusion:

Hyperandrogenism in normal weight PCOS women is associated with preferential intra-abdominal fat deposition and an increased population of small SC abdominal adipocytes that could constrain SC adipose storage and promote metabolic dysfunction.

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