Background: Higher testosterone levels during pregnancy in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) could be associated with longer offspring ano-genital distance (AGD).
Aims: To compare AGD between offspring of mothers with PCOS and controls and to determine possible associations between maternal 3rd trimester testosterone levels and offspring AGD at three months of age.
Methods: The study was part of the prospective study, Odense Child Cohort. Maternal testosterone levels were measured by mass spectrometry at gestational week 28 in 1.127 women. Offspring measures included AGD from anus to posterior fourchette (AGDaf) and clitoris (AGDac) in girls and to scrotum (AGDas) and penis (AGDap) in boys, penile with, and body composition (weight and BMI standard deviation scores (SDS)), PCOS, n=139, Controls, n=1.422 controls) at age three months.
Results: AGD measures were comparable in offspring of women with PCOS compared to controls (all P>0.2) despite significantly higher total testosterone (mean: 2.4 vs. 2.0 nmol/l) and free testosterone (mean: 0.005 vs. 0.004 nmol/l) levels during pregnancy in women with PCOS (both P<0.001). AGD was positively associated with offspring BMI (all P<0.001). In boys born of mothers with PCOS, maternal total testosterone levels were positively associated with AGDas (r=0.33, P=0.009) and AGDap (r=0.37, P=0.003). In multiple regression analyses, the strongest predictor of AGD in boys and girls was offspring BMI at three months (models corrected for maternal age, maternal parity, maternal BMI, and offspring birth weight). Maternal PCOS status was an independent and positive predictor of AGDas and AGDap in boys. Maternal PCOS status and maternal testosterone levels did not predict AGD in girls.
Conclusions: AGD was similar in children born of mothers with PCOS compared to controls, but PCOS status could be associated with longer AGD in boys. Our data suggest that boys were more susceptible to maternal PCOS than girls.
18 - 21 May 2019
European Society of Endocrinology