Endocrine Abstracts (2002) 3 P209

Cardiovascular risk profiles in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

AST Bickerton1, N Clark1, DR Meeking1, M Crook2, KM Shaw1 & MH Cummings1


1Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, UK; 2Department Chemical Pathology, Kings College London, London, UK.


Introduction: Studies have suggested that PCOS is associated with increased cardiovascular (CVS) risk. The mechanisms that may contribute to increased CVS susceptibility include endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation and atherothrombosis.

Aim: To compare CVS risk profiles in women with PCOS and healthy age and weight matched controls using novel biochemical and biophysical markers of these pathological processes.

Method: Following ethics committee approval, 12 women with PCOS and 12 controls were recruited (age 32 plus/minus 6.3 yrs [mean plus/minus SD], BMI 32.5 plus/minus 6.4 kilograms per metre squared, none were diabetic). Blood was drawn for lipid and lipoprotein profile (total and HDL-chol, triglyceride, apo B, apo A1, Lp(a)), sialic acid (SA), fibrinogen (Fb) and CRP concentrations. Endothelial function was also assessed by a standard venous occlusion plethysmography technique to measure reactive hyperaemic forearm blood flow (RH) and expressed as % increase from baseline.

Results: There was no significant difference in glucose, lipid or lipoprotein concentrations between the 2 groups. Furthermore, SA (70.2 milligrams per decilitre [PCOS] vs 72.9 milligrams per decilitre[controls], p=0.86), Fb (3.1 grams per litre vs 3.3 grams per litre, p=0.52), CRP (4.3 milligrams per litre vs 5.4 milligrams per litre, p=0.55) and RH (173.54% vs 200.1%, p=0.62) were similar

Conclusions: Our preliminary findings show no difference in surrogate markers of the processes linked to enhanced CVS risk between PCOS and weight matched control subjects. These observations suggest that any increased CVS risk associated with PCOS may be mediated through obesity rather than other specific factors associated with PCOS per se.

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