Insulin, androgens, and obesity in women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome: a heterogeneous group of disorders
ABSTRACT Objective: To analyze the correlations among insulin, androgens, body mass index (BMI), and other related metabolic anomalies in women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).Design: Retrospective study of normal and obese women with and without PCOS.Setting: Gynecologic endocrinology units of Elche, San Juan, and Alicante Hospitals and Hormone Laboratory at Alicante University Hospital (“Miguel Hernández” University).Patient(s): A total of 212 women were studied: 137 with PCOS and 75 without PCOS.Intervention(s): BMI, gonadotropins, insulin, androgens (T, androstenedione, DHEAS), 17α-hydroxyprogesterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, and triglycerides were studied. Glycemia and insulin response to the tolerance test (GTT) with a 100-g oral glucose load were also assessed in 103 women.Result(s): A good correlation between insulin and BMI was found in normal and obese women without hormonal dysfunction and in patients with or without PCOS. Good correlations, although lower, between insulin and T, and BMI, insulin, and T with triglycerides were also found in patients with PCOS. These patients fell into clearly distinct categories: with or without insulin resistance and with or without obesity, but slim women with PCOS had insulin and metabolic variables similar to those without PCOS, and most obese women with PCOS were insulin-resistant and more hyperandrogenic and hypertriglyceridemic.Conclusion(s): Insulin, androgens, and BMI are related in women both with PCOS and without PCOS, especially in obese ones. Insulin and metabolic indices are similar in lean women with PCOS and those without PCOS, but obese women with PCOS are more insulin-resistant, hyperandrogenic, and hypertriglyceridemic. Three types of disorders can be distinguished: simple nonhyperandrogenic obesity, typical nonhyperinsulinemic PCOS, and insulin-resistant PCOS.