Insulin resistance variability in women with anovulatory and ovulatory polycystic ovary syndrome, and normal controls

L. W. Cho, E. S. Kilpatrick, B. G. Keevil, V. Jayagopal, A. M. Coady, A. S. Rigby, Stephen Atkin

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Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) were found to have a higher biological variability in insulin resistance (IR) compared to controls, but it is unknown whether this variability in IR differs between PCOS who are anovulatory compared to those who have an ovulatory cycle. The primary aim of this study was to compare and contrast the variability of IR in women with ovulatory and anovulatory PCOS, in comparison to normal subjects. 53 Caucasian women with PCOS and 22 normal ovulating women were recruited. Fasting blood was collected each day on 10 consecutive occasions at 3-4 day intervals for analysis of insulin, glucose, progesterone, and testosterone. Analysis of progesterone levels showed 22 of 53 women with PCOS to have had an ovulatory cycle. Insulin resistance was calculated by HOMA method. Women with anovulatory PCOS had higher mean and variability of IR compared to those having an ovulatory cycle, and both were significantly higher than controls (mean±SEM; HOMA-IR 4.14±0.14 vs. 3.65±0.15 vs. 2.21±0.16, respectively) after adjustment or BMI. The mean BMI for individual PCOS patients correlated with mean HOMA-IR (p=0.009). Insulin resistance in women with anovulatory PCOS is both higher and more variable than in ovulatory PCOS. Since anovulatory PCOS therefore mimics the IR features of type 2 diabetes more closely, anovulation may be particularly associated with a higher cardiovascular risk compared to PCOS patients who ovulate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • cardiovascular risk
  • insulin resistance
  • ovulation
  • polycystic ovary syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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