Reassessment of adrenal androgen secretion in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Enrico Carmina, Frank Gonzalez, Lilly Chang, Rogerio A. Lobo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


Objective: To reevaluate the clinical significance of elevations of adrenal androgens in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Methods: Thirty women with PCOS and ten ovulatory controls were evaluated. Serum dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) sulfate and 11β-hydroxyandrostenedione were measured before and after 3 and 6 months of GnRH agonist (GnRH-A) therapy. All controls and 15 women with PCOS received intravenous ACTH before and after GnRH-A therapy. Results: Twenty-one (70%) of the women with PCOS had elevations of DHEA sulfate, and 16 (53%) had elevations in 11/3-hydroxyandrostenedione. Only two women with PCOS had normal values of both adrenal androgens. After GnRH-A therapy, only 11 subjects (37%) had elevated values of DHEA sulfate. Four of 16 women had reductions in 11β-hydroxyandrostenedione. Only those with elevated baseline DHEA sulfate levels had reductions after GnRH-A therapy. The reduction of DHEA sulfate with GnRH-A correlated with the reduction in androstenedione. Of the subjects who had reductions in DHEA sulfate with GnRH-A therapy, there was a blunted response of DHEA to ACTH after treatment. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the ovary may influence the prevalence and magnitude of adrenal androgen excess in PCOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-976
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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