Follicular hyperandrogenism and insulin resistance in polycystic ovary syndrome patients with normal circulating testosterone levels
- Received Date: 2017-12-19
- Accepted Date: 2018-01-28
- Available Online: 2018-05-30
Abstract: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive disease with high heterogeneity. The role of excess androgen in PCOS etiology remains disputed, since around 20%–50% of PCOS women do not display hyperandrogenemia. The microenvironment of the ovary critically influences follicular development. In the present study, we assessed the role of androgen in PCOS by investigating whether excessive follicular fluid androgen was present in PCOS patients with normal serum androgen levels and influenced by follicular fluid insulin resistance (IR). Follicular fluid samples of 105 women with PCOS and 105 controls were collected. Levels of steroid hormones, glucose and insulin in the follicular fluid were examined and compared with data from serum biochemistry tests. We found that 64.9% (63/97) of PCOS patients with normal serum androgen levels displayed abnormally high follicular fluid androgen level. The follicular fluid androgen level was positively correlated with follicular fluid IR within a certain range and follicular fluid estrogen-to-testosterone (E2/T) ratio was significantly reduced in these patients. These results indicated that there existed a subgroup of PCOS patients who displayed excessive follicular fluid androgen and IR despite their normal circulating testosterone (T) levels. Our study highlights the importance of ovary hyperandrogenism and IR in the etiology of PCOS.