We determined the effect of chronic androgen suppression on inflammation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compared to weight-matched controls. We performed a pilot project using samples from previous prospective, controlled studies. Nine women with PCOS (5 obese, 4 lean) and 9 ovulatory controls (5 obese, 4 lean) participated in the study. Androgens, C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), free fatty acids (FFA) and body weight were measured before and after 3 and 6 months of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist administration. GnRH agonist treatment decreased estradiol, testosterone and androstenedione to similar levels in all subjects. CRP and IL-6 increased in obese women with PCOS, was unaltered in lean women with PCOS and obese controls, and decreased in lean controls after 6 months of treatment. FFA decreased and body weight increased in obese women with PCOS, but did not change significantly in lean women with PCOS and in either control group after 6 months of treatment. The testosterone reduction was related to increases in weight and IL-6. The fall in FFA was related to the rise in CRP. The increases in weight and IL-6 were related to the rise in CRP. We propose that hyperandrogenism in PCOS may exert an anti-inflammatory effect when obesity is present, but may not promote inflammation in the disorder; and that circulating androgens have a pleiotropic effect on inflammation depending on the combination of PCOS and weight status in a given individual.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism