Introduction: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, lipid abnormalities, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and hypertension. Exercise is reported to lower cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and improve reproductive health. The effect of exercise on plasma adiponectin and the components of leptin system, namely plasma free (FL) and bound (BL) leptin concentrations, have not been previously reported in PCOS women. Aims and methods: We investigated the effects of exercise on plasma adiponectin, FL and BL concentrations in young overweight or obese PCOS women [age (mean) 30.6 years, body mass index (BMI): 35.49 kg/m2]. Twenty-one women consented to a six-month exercise programme; twelve women (exercisers) adhered to the programme whilst nine (non-exercisers) did not. In both groups of women, the following parameters were recorded at baseline and at six-months: BMI, waist circumference (WC), waist to hip ratio (WHR), skin thickness, aerobic capacity (VO2max); blood samples were taken after an overnight fast for plasma adiponectin, FL, BL, and other biochemical parameters.
Results: A significant decrease in plasma FL concentrations (P=0.02), WC (P=0.013), WHR (P=0.041), and skin thickness (P=0.025), and a significant increase in plasma adiponectin (P=0.003), and BL( P=0.019) , and VO2max (P=0.019), were recorded at 6 months compared to baseline in the exercise group. In contrast, no significant changes in any of these variables were observed in the non-exercise group.
Conclusion: Our study showed that regular exercise had favorable effects on body composition and plasma adiponectin and leptin system components. The improvement in adipokine milieu may contribute to the cardio-metabolic and reproductive benefits observed with regular exercise in women with PCOS.
Declaration of interest: There is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.
Funding: No specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.