Clinical manifestations and insulin resistance (IR) in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among South Asians and Caucasians: is there a difference?
Wijeyaratne CN, Balen AH, Barth JH, Belchetz PE.
Department of Endocrinology, The General Infirmary at Leeds, UK.
OBJECTIVE: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is more prevalent in South Asian women residing in the UK than in Caucasians. Insulin resistance (IR) is central to the pathogenesis of PCOS, while type 2 diabetes is commoner in South Asians. We aimed to determine a possible ethnic difference in the clinical and biochemical characteristics of South Asian vs. Caucasian women with PCOS.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that South Asians with anovular PCOS seek treatment at a younger age, have more severe symptoms, and have higher fasting insulin concentrations and lower insulin sensitivity than Caucasians.
PATIENTS AND DESIGN: A case-control cross-sectional observational study of consecutive women with anovular PCOS (47 South Asians, 40 Caucasians) and their age-matched controls (11 South Asians and 22 Caucasians).
MEASUREMENTS: Index subjects: a questionnaire-based interview on clinical symptoms and family history; anthropometric measurements, clinical observations of the presence and degree of acne, hirsutism and acanthosis nigricans; transvaginal pelvic ultrasound; biochemical analyses of fasting blood sugar, fasting plasma insulin, fasting lipids, testosterone, and SHBG concentrations. Control group: age- and weight-matched unrelated women from the same ethnic backgrounds without PCOS seeking treatment for male infertility were studied by similar methods to those used with the index subjects.
RESULTS: South Asians with PCOS presented at a younger age (age 26 +/- 4 vs. 30.1 +/- 5 years, P = 0.005). Body mass index (BMI) and waist : hip ratios were similar in the two affected cohorts. More South Asians had oligomenorrhoea commencing at a younger age. Hirsutism (Ferriman Gallwey score 18 vs. 7.5, P = 0.0001), acne, acanthosis nigricans and secondary infertility were significantly more prevalent in South Asians. The fasting glucose was similar (4.52 +/- 0.08 vs. 4.62 +/- 0.09 mmol/l, P = 0.25), the fasting insulin higher (89.4 +/- 8.9 vs. 48.6 +/- 4.8 pmol/l, P = 0.0001) and insulin sensitivity (IS) lower (0.335 +/- 0.005 vs. 0.357 +/- 0.002, P = 0.0001) among South Asians. Serum SHBG was significantly less in South Asians (35 +/- 3.3 vs. 55 +/- 9.4 nmol/l, P = 0.02), while serum testosterone was similar (2.69 +/- 0.11 vs. 2.64 +/- 0.13 nmol/l, P = 0.37).
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2002 Sep