Chronic inflammation and elevated homocysteine levels are associated with increased body mass index in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Kadir Guzelmeric, Nevriye Alkan, Meltem Pirimoglu, Orhan Unal, Cem Turan
Gynecological Endocrinology 2007, 23 (9): 505-10

BACKGROUND: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are insulin-resistant and have increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and coronary heart disease (CHD). But it is controversial whether the increased risk of CHD and T2DM is associated with endocrine abnormalities occurring as a consequence of PCOS or whether it is related to obesity or metabolic changes frequently seen in women with PCOS.

OBJECTIVE: Since both homocysteine (Hcy) and C-reactive protein (CRP) are supposed to predict T2DM and CHD, we investigated their possible relationship with insulin resistance, obesity, hyperandrogenemia and metabolic alterations in 44 PCOS women and 26 healthy controls matched by age and body mass index (BMI).

RESULTS: Hcy and CRP levels were significantly elevated in PCOS women compared with controls (13.30 +/- 4.81 vs. 9.02 +/- 3.36 micromol/l, p < 0.05 and 4.22 +/- 2.95 vs. 2.66 +/- 2.49 mg/l, p < 0.05). There was no correlation between Hcy and CRP (r = 0.171, p = 0.05) as two risk markers. While plasma Hcy levels were correlated with BMI, ratio of luteinizing hormone (LH) to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), total testosterone, free testosterone, triglyceride and insulin levels and homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) (p < 0.05), CRP was correlated with BMI, total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and insulin levels and HOMA-IR (p < 0.05). There was no correlation of CRP with parameters of PCOS such as testosterone and LH/FSH ratio (p > 0.05). Multiple regression analysis revealed BMI as the major factor examined that influenced both Hcy and CRP levels.

CONCLUSIONS: In PCOS women, plasma levels of Hcy and CRP were significantly elevated compared with age- and BMI-matched controls. Although most of the PCOS-related endocrine and metabolic changes are related to elevated plasma Hcy and CRP levels in PCOS women, BMI seems to be the major factor determining CHD and T2DM in women with PCOS.

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