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Biol Res Nurs. 2010 Jul;12(1):62-72. doi: 10.1177/1099800410371824. Epub 2010 May 24.

Adiponectin and polycystic ovary syndrome.

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  • 1University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has a prevalence of 5-8% in women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and associated comorbidities. Adiponectin is a circulating protein produced by adipocytes. Circulating levels of adiponectin are inversely related to adipocyte mass. Low levels occur with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity-related cardiovascular disease. This article reviews the literature on the link between adiponectin and PCOS and the potential use of adiponectin as a biomarker for PCOS.


Data-based studies on adiponectin and PCOS and adiponectin measurement were identified through the Medline (1950-2009) and ISI Web of Knowledge (1973-2009) databases.


Fifteen studies related to adiponectin and PCOS met inclusion criteria and were included in this review. These studies present evidence that adiponectin is linked to insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity, body mass index (BMI), and adiposity. In women with PCOS, lower levels, as opposed to higher levels, of adiponectin occur in the absence of adiposity.


The relationships between adiponectin and insulin resistance and sensitivity, metabolic syndrome, and BMI in women with PCOS suggest that adiponectin potentially could serve as a marker for disease risk and provide opportunity for earlier intervention if knowledge is successfully translated from laboratory to clinical practice. However, further study of the relationship between adiponectin and PCOS is required before there can be direct application to clinical practice.

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