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Content available remote The polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos) status and cardiovascular risk in young women
The study investigated the presence of early vascular damage and chronic inflammation, and their relationships with hormonal and metabolic parameters in 45 young women with PCOS in comparison with thirty-two healthy age-matched controls. Hormonal and metabolic profiles, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), tumoral necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), endothelin-1 (ET-1), brachial flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) were determined in both groups. Compared with the controls, women with PCOS had significantly lower FMD and respectively higher ET-1 levels (p=0.001). No differences were observed between the groups in terms of CIMT or inflammatory markers. In the PCOS group, ET-1 levels were significantly correlated with only testosterone concentrations (r = 0.31, p = 0.037), whereas the hsCRP levels were independently predicted only by body mass index (BMI). Within the total group, the PCOS status was the sole significant predictor of ET-1 levels and the only independent predictor of FMD. In conclusion, there is evidence of endothelial dysfunction associated with increased levels of androgen hormones in young women with PCOS. The combination of endothelial dysfunction and coexistent obesity promoting inflammation contributes to the progression of atherogenesis in PCOS. The PCOS status should be regarded as a predictor marker of cardiovascular risk, along with well-known cardiovascular risk factors.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is possibly the most common endocrinopathy of reproductive age, characterized by hyperandrogenism and oligomenorrhea. Additionally, approximately one-third to one-half of all women and adolescent girls with PCOS tend to fulfill many of the metabolic syndrome criteria, and many view PCOS as a premetabolic syndrome condition, predisposing to a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Endothelial dysfunction, impaired arterial structure, or proinflammatory markers are early features of atherosclerosis, and can be used as surrogate indicators of future coronary artery disease in women with PCOS. However, as the latest studies show, these symptoms are the result of deleterious effects that cardiovascular risk factors, in particular insulin resistance and obesity, produce on the vascular wall, rather than to the presence of PCOS per se. The relationship between hyperandrogenemia and the risk of cardiovascular disease is controversial and needs to be clarified. Further research is warranted to understand the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease in PCOS, and to identify subtypes of PCOS in which the presence of cardiovascular risk factors may result in increased cardiovascular events, leading to high morbidity or mortality rates caused by cardiovascular disease.
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