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Eur J Endocrinol. 2001 Sep;145(3):289-94.

Circulating leptin concentrations and ovarian function in polycystic ovary syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, McGill Reproductive Centre, Royal Victoria Hospital, 687 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1, Canada. imran.pirwany@muhc.mcgill.ca



Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by ovarian dysfunction. Although the role of leptin in the control of reproduction is unclear, it may be involved in the control of ovulation. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine the relationship between circulating leptin concentrations, and anthropometric, metabolic and endocrine variables as well as to examine a possible role of leptin in ovarian dysfunction associated with PCOS.


Prospective observational study.


Seventy-one subjects with PCOS and 23 body mass index (BMI)-matched control subjects were recruited from infertility clinics. The association between serum leptin concentrations and the above variables was measured outwith the luteal phase. A subgroup of 24 PCOS subjects underwent more frequent blood sampling to monitor follicular growth and ovulation. The association between variables was measured by univariate, multivariate and partial correlation analyses.


Serum leptin concentrations were not different in subjects with PCOS and controls, and were strongly associated with BMI in both groups. Twelve patients ovulated during the study period. There was no significant difference in serum leptin concentrations between ovulatory and anovulatory subjects. The relationship between BMI and leptin was similar in both groups.


The results indicated that circulating leptin concentrations relate principally to total body fat in subjects with PCOS and controls, and that this is not associated with the facility for follicular development and ovulation in these patients.

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