Endocrine Abstracts (2007) 13 P254

Ghrelin is reduced in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and correlates inversely with HOMA IR and testosterone

Thomas M Barber1, Felipe F Casanueva2, Mary Lage2, Stephen Franks3, Mark I McCarthy1 & John AH Wass1


1University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; 2Santiago de Compostela University, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; 3Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.


Introduction: Ghrelin is a novel peptide involved in the regulation of appetite and energy balance. Dysregulation of ghrelin may play a role in the development of obesity in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Due to the strong association between BMI and PCOS, we hypothesised that obese women with PCOS have abnormal fasting and post-glucose load ghrelin levels compared with BMI-matched control women.

Methods: Datasets included 18 women with PCOS, all with polycystic ovarian (PCO) morphology, hyperandrogenaemia and oligo-amenorrhoea (inter-menstrual interval >42 days). Controls were 18 BMI-matched women without PCO morphology, and with regular menstrual cycles. All women were of Europid origin and none were on medications likely to affect hormone concentrations. Fasting and +30 minute post-oral (75 g) glucose samples were taken.

Results: All variables were log transformed. Between PCOS and control groups, there were significant differences in ghrelin, both fasting (P<0.0001 unadjusted, P=0.01 adjusted) and 30 minute post-glucose (P=0.003 unadjusted, P=0.05 adjusted; Table 1). Linear regression multivariate analysis showed that HOMA IR (P=0.01) and testosterone (P=0.01) significantly and independently correlate with fasting ghrelin.

Table 1 Data are shown as geometric mean (S.D. range) [except age, shown as mean (S.D.)].
Age (years)BMI (Kgm−2)G (fasting) (μg/ml)G (+30 min) (μg/ml)HOMAIRT (nmol/l)
PCOS1 women30.1 (5.8)33.8 (26.8, 42.8)1098 (768, 1571)936 (655, 1340)2.09 (1.01, 4.31)2.33 (1.68, 3.23)
Control1 women41.0 (3.6)33.4 (27.9,39.9)1807 (1310,2492)1324 (1008,1740)1.91 (1.02, 3.57)1.60 (1.27, 2.01)
P2value<0.00010.85<0.00010.0030.72<0.0001
P3value0.010.050.600.02
1n=18
2t-test unadjusted
3t-test adjusted for age and BMI; G=Ghrelin; T=Testosterone

Conclusion: Ghrelin levels (fasting and post-glucose) are significantly lower in PCOS women than BMI-matched controls. HOMA IR and serum testosterone significantly, independently and inversely correlate with fasting ghrelin, implying that ghrelin may have a role in PCOS aetiology.

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