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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2010 Dec;73(6):732-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2010.03873.x.

Ethnic differences in Rotterdam criteria and metabolic risk factors in a multiethnic group of women with PCOS studied in Denmark.

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Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Odense University Hospital, Odense C, Denmark.



Clinical manifestations and metabolic risk factors may differ in ethnic subgroups of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


Retrospective trans-sectional study.


One thousand and two premenopausal women with the diagnoses hirsutism or PCOS were divided according to ethnicity: Caucasian (CA, n = 784), Middle East (ME, n = 190), Asian (n = 14) and others (n = 14).


Clinical evaluation (hirsutism, BMI, waist, blood pressure), hormone analyses (testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, prolactin, lipids, insulin, glucose) and transvaginal ultrasound were performed. Oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) (n = 499) and ACTH tests (n = 434) were performed in a subgroup of patients.


(CA vs ME women) CA women were older [32(25-37) vs 25(18-32) years, median (quartiles)] and had increased BMI compared to ME women. After correcting for age and BMI, CA women were less hirsute, but had increased testosterone levels compared to ME women. The Rotterdam criteria were fulfilled in 56% of both populations, but PCO was diagnosed in 47% CA vs 29% ME women, P < 0·01. CA women had increased blood pressure and smoked at a higher frequency (40 vs 23%), whereas area under the curve for insulin during OGTT was decreased, all P < 0·001. Prolactin levels were significantly lower in CA women compared to ME women [7(5-10) vs 9(6-12) μg/l] and were inversely associated with smoking status.


CA women had a more adverse cardiovascular profile than ME women, whereas insulin sensitivity was higher. The prevalence of the individual Rotterdam criteria differed significantly in the two study populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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