Aim: The aim of our study was to assess the presence of endothelial dysfunction and of increased carotid intimae-media thickness (IMT), two precocious markers of atherosclerosis in PCOS subjects. Simultaneously, their relationship with some metabolic, hormonal and anthropometric parameters was analyzed.
Methods: The study group consisted of 45 women with PCOS (age=23.1±4.1 years, body mass index (BMI) =28.4±5.9 kg/m2). Thirty-two healthy age-matched women (23.0±5.3 years and BMI=25.8±6.8 kg/m2) were included as controls. All women were evaluated clinically and biochemically. Serum insulin, total testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin and estradiol were measured using ELISA commercial kits. Intimae-media thickness was assessed by high-resolution ultrasonography at the level of common carotid artery bilaterally, while endothelial dysfunction was investigated by both endothelin (ET)-1 levels determination and measurement of flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery.
Results: ET-1 levels were significantly higher while the FMD was significantly lower in the PCOS women compared with the control women (P=0.001). In contrast, no difference was observed between the two groups in carotid artery IMT. In the total study group, both ET-1 (correlation with TT: r=0.439, P<0.0001 and with the free androgenic index (FAI): r=0.448, P<0.0001) and brachial artery FMD (correlation with the FAI: r=−0.242, P=0.046) were significantly associated with hyperandrogenemia markers. In multiple regression analyses for the total population, only PCOS presence represented an independent predictor of FMD levels (b=−0.406, P=0.001).
Conclusions: Our data show that young, non-dyslipidemic, non-hypertensive and eu-glycaemic women with PCOS have altered endothelial function but not evidence of altered arterial structure and that increased androgen levels are linked to impaired endothelial function.
30 Apr - 04 May 2011
European Society of Endocrinology