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Hum Reprod. 2011 Jan;26(1):227-34. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deq308. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

High serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate is associated with phenotypic acne and a reduced risk of abdominal obesity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are known to have high prevalence of acne and elevated androgen levels. The current study aims to determine if dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) level is associated with the presence of acne and reduced risk of abdominal obesity in women with PCOS, after considering the concurrent high testosterone level and insulin resistance (IR).


Three hundred and eighteen untreated consecutive Taiwanese women with PCOS were enrolled. Phenotypic hyperandrogenism was recorded, and BMI, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, lipid profiles, fasting glucose and insulin levels and hormone profiles were measured.


Women with acne were younger, had higher serum DHEAS levels (6.01 ± 3.45 versus 4.87 ± 2.49 μmol/l, P = 0.002) and a lower BMI (P = 0.0006), but comparable serum testosterone levels, in comparison with women without acne. The aggravating effect of elevated DHEAS on the risk of acne (odds ratio = 2.15, 95% confidence interval: 1.25-3.68, P = 0.005 for DHEAS cut-off of 6.68 μmol/l) still exited after adjustment for age and BMI. The DHEAS level was positively correlated with the testosterone level, but inversely related to waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, BMI, IR index, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and triglycerides. Women with PCOS in the highest quartile of DHEAS had the lowest risk of abdominal obesity after adjustment for age, IR, dyslipidemia, testosterone and estradiol levels.


Our results demonstrated the high serum DHEAS in women with PCOS was associated with the presence of acne and a significantly reduced risk of abdominal obesity, independent of serum testosterone concentration and IR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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