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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2009 Dec;71(6):808-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2009.03598.x. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Dissociation of endothelial function and arterial stiffness in nonobese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

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Keogh Institute for Medical Research, Nedlands, Western Australia.



Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with cardiovascular risk but it is not clear if this is independent of obesity and insulin resistance. This study therefore investigates endothelial function and arterial stiffness in nonobese, noninsulin resistant women with PCOS.


This is cross-sectional case-control study.


A total of 19 young women with PCOS, with body mass index (BMI) <30 kg/m(2), and 19 healthy controls matched for age and BMI were included in the study.


Endothelial function was assessed with flow mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery, while arterial stiffness was assessed with pulse wave velocity (PWV) and augmentation index (AI).


There were no significant differences between PCOS and control subjects when assessing the following clinical and biochemical variables: blood pressure, homeostasis model assessment insulin-resistance index, lipids and oestradiol. Women with PCOS had higher free androgen index scores (5.14 ± 3.47 vs. 3.25 ± 1.42, P = 0.036). The PCOS subjects had significantly lower FMD of the brachial artery compared with the controls (6.5 ± 2.9%vs. 10.5 ± 4.0%, P < 0.01). There were no significant differences in markers of arterial stiffness (PWV 5.8 ± 1.1 vs. 6.0 ± 1.0, P = 0.58, AI 16.5 ± 10.2 vs. 20.3 ± 10.2, P = 0.25).


Women with polycystic ovary syndrome who are young, nonobese, and have no biochemical evidence of insulin resistance, have abnormal vascular function, but normal arterial stiffness, when compared with age and weight matched control subjects. Whether this leads to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease requires further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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