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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Apr;83(4):1143-50.

High prevalence of polycystic ovaries and associated clinical, endocrine, and metabolic features in women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


The prevalence of polycystic ovaries, according to ultrasonography, and associated clinical, endocrine, and metabolic features were investigated in women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Thirty-four women with GDM 3-5 yr before the investigation and 36 controls with uncomplicated pregnancies, selected for similar age, parity, and date of delivery, were investigated. The women with previous GDM showed a higher prevalence of polycystic ovaries [14 of 34 (41%) vs. 1 of 36 (3%); P < 0.0001], hirsutism (P < 0.01), irregular menstrual cycles (P < 0.01), and a higher body mass index (BMI; P < 0.001) than the controls. Five women (15%) with previous GDM had developed manifest diabetes (excluded in comparisons of metabolic variables). After dividing the women with previous GDM into subgroups according to ovarian appearance, the 2 subgroups showed similar glucose tolerance and prevalence of diabetes, whereas the women with polycystic ovaries were younger (mean +/- SD, 33.3 +/- 1.4 vs. 38.2 +/- 1.1; P < 0.01), had higher truncal-abdominal/femoral fat ratio according to skin folds (P < 0.05), had higher concentrations of androstenedione (P < 0.01) and testosterone (P < 0.01), and had a higher LH/FSH ratio (P < 0.01), lower levels of GH (P < 0.01), higher levels of triglycerides (P < 0.05) and cholesterol (P < 0.05) in very low density lipoprotein, all independent of age and BMI, and had a higher prevalence of pregnancy-induced hypertension (50% vs. 15%; P < 0.05) during the index pregnancy compared with the women with normal ovaries. The group of women with GDM showed a lower early insulin release after glucose (i.v. glucose tolerance test) for their degree of insulin resistance (euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp) compared with controls (P < 0.05). In the two subgroups, insulin sensitivity was lower in the polycystic ovaries group, independent of BMI (P < 0.05), than in the group with normal ovaries. In conclusion, ultrasonographic, clinical and endocrine signs of polycystic ovary syndrome were much increased in women with a history of GDM. Compared with the women with normal ovaries and previous GDM, those with polycystic ovaries formed a distinct subgroup that may be more prone to develop various features of the insulin resistance syndrome. Both groups showed a similarly disturbed balance between beta-cell activity and insulin sensitivity, but in women with polycystic ovaries, insulin resistance may be the dominant component.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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