University of Oulu

Effects of insulin-lowering drugs in PCOS: endocrine, metabolic and inflammatory aspects

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Author: Rautio, Katriina1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Chemistry
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-11-28
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Auditorium 4 of Oulu University Hospital, on December 8th, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Leena Anttila
Professor Leo Niskanen


Most women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) exhibit features of metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, dyslipidaemia, glucose intolerance and low-grade chronic inflammation, reflected in elevated levels of serum C-reactive protein (CRP), placing these women at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (type 2 DM).

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of two well-known insulin-lowering drugs used in the treatment of type 2 DM, metformin and rosiglitazone, on traditional cardiovascular risk factors and inflammation in women with PCOS. In addition, the impact of rosiglitazone was evaluated as regards clinical, endocrine and metabolic aspects of PCOS.

Six-months of metformin treatment in women with PCOS had beneficial effects on levels of CRP, lipid profile and blood pressure, expressed as increased levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and decreased levels of triglycerides (TGs), decreased ratio of total cholesterol/HDL-C, decreased levels of CRP, and decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

Four-month treatment with rosiglitazone in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in overweight women with PCOS resulted in significant improvements in menstrual cyclicity, hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia. In addition, rosiglitazone decreased levels of markers of low-grade inflammation, CRP and white blood cell (WBC) count, and the liver function marker alanine aminotransferase (ALAT), while having neutral effects on levels of lipids, and blood pressure.

In conclusion, metformin treatment, in accordance with the known beneficial metabolic effects of this drug, could be useful in the prevention of cardiovascular complications in women with PCOS. Rosiglitazone represents an alternative treatment for overweight anovulatory women with PCOS. It could be useful in the prevention of type 2 DM in overweight women with PCOS and for those suffering from possible side-effects related to metformin treatment. In addition, alleviation of inflammation and improvement of liver function during rosiglitazone treatment may indicate decreased future risks of cardiovascular diseases and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-8268-X
ISBN Print: 951-42-8267-1
Issue: 900
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.