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J Adolesc Health. 2018 Mar;62(3):288-293. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.09.005. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Ovarian Morphology by Transabdominal Ultrasound Correlates With Reproductive and Metabolic Disturbance in Adolescents With PCOS.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York.
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Hammers Healthcare Imaging, New Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Endocrinology, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri. Electronic address:



To determine whether ovarian morphology imaged using transabdominal ultrasonography reflects clinical and metabolic features in adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


A retrospective pilot study was conducted in 33 adolescents (12-18 years) with PCOS as defined by hyperandrogenism and irregular cycles. Adolescents underwent the following assessments at a random time during the menstrual cycle: transabdominal ultrasonography, physical examination (height, weight, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure), fasting hormonal tests (free, percent free, and total testosterone, androstenedione, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone), and metabolic tests (including an oral glucose tolerance test, fasting and 2-hour insulin and glucose, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, and whole-body insulin sensitivity index). Ultrasound images were analyzed offline for ovarian area (OA), ovarian volume (OV), follicle number per cross section (FNPS), and follicle distribution pattern. Associations among endocrine and metabolic variables with sonographic features were assessed by Spearman's rank correlation coefficients and stepwise multiple linear regression.


Total testosterone and androstenedione, but not free testosterone, or percent free testosterone, positively correlated with OA (ρ = .515, ρ = .422, respectively), OV (ρ = .451, ρ = .382), and FNPS (ρ = .394, ρ = .474). Luteinizing hormone:follicle stimulating hormone ratio also positively correlated with ovarian size (OA, ρ = .520 and OV, ρ = .409). Unexpectedly, body mass index (ρ = -.503) and fasting glucose levels (ρ = -.393) were inversely correlated with FNPS. Total testosterone was an independent predictor of FNPS, OA, and OV as judged by stepwise multiple regression analyses.


Some aspects of ovarian morphology in adolescents with PCOS using transabdominal ultrasonography associate with markers of reproductive dysfunction and provide rationale to further investigate how ovarian morphology may reflect concurrent metabolic dysfunction.


Adolescent; Metabolism; Ovaries; PCOS; Transabdominal ultrasonography

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