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Hum Reprod. 2007 Nov;22(11):2974-80. Epub 2007 Sep 25.

Evidence of subpopulations with different levels of insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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  • 1Unidad de Reproducción y Desarrollo, Departamento de Ciencias Fisiológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Alameda B O'Higgins 340, Santiago, Chile.



Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is non-uniformly associated with insulin resistance (IR). We examined IR in women with PCOS.


Sixty-nine PCOS women were subjected to the insulin suppression test (IST) to determine their steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) as a direct measure of insulin sensitivity.


SSPG exhibited a multimodal distribution suggesting the existence of subpopulations. The heterogeneous distribution of plasma glucose at 180 min (P = 0.011), with three modes, suggested differences in the plasma glucose level trajectories during the IST. Hence, the population was separated into three groups: (i) (n = 33), subjects with SSPG < or = 152.5 mg/dl, corresponding to the first to fifth deciles; (ii) (n = 29), subjects in the interval 152.5 mg/dl < SSPG < or = 300 mg/dl; (iii) (n = 7), subjects with SSPG > 300 mg/dl, corresponding to the tenth decile. Plasma glucose distributions at 180 min showed differences in their mean values and ranges among groups (P < 0.0001). The trajectories of the groups differed significantly during the IST (P < 0.0001).


insulin sensitivity in our patients exhibited a discontinuous distribution, implying that PCOS is a heterogeneous disorder possessing subpopulations regarding IR.

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