Anteroposterior diameter of the infrarenal abdominal aorta is higher in women with polycystic ovary syndrome
Marco Matteo Ciccone1, Stefano Favale1, Anish Bhuva4, Pietro Scicchitano1, Vito Caragnano1, Cristina Lavopa2, Giovanni De Pergola3, Giuseppe Loverro2
1Department of Cardiology; 2Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics; 3Section of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Andrology, and Metabolic Diseases, University of Bari, DETO, Italy; 4University College of London, London, UK
Background: Women affected by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are known to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to identify the artery that first is affected by early pre-atherosclerotic changes in PCOS.
Methods: Twenty-nine women with PCOS aged 17 to 27 years and 26 healthy nonhyperandrogenic volunteers with regular menses (control women) aged 16 to 28 years were enrolled. All PCOS patients were overweight or obese (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 25). Diagnosis of PCOS was performed in line with the 2003 Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-Sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group. Accordingly, PCOS was defined when at least two of the following three features were present after exclusion of other etiologies: 1) oligomenorrhea and or anovulation; 2) hyperandrogenism and/or hyperandrogenemia; and 3) polycystic ovaries visible at ultrasound. Androgen excess or related disorders were excluded. The intima-media thickness (IMT) of common carotid arteries and common femoral arteries and the anteroposterior diameter of the infrarenal abdominal aorta were measured by ultrasound. Lutenizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, total testosterone, androstenedione, and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) serum levels were measured between the 3rd and the 6th day of spontaneous or progestin-induced menstrual cycle. Our study was performed in the absence of any medical treatment.
Results: Women with PCOS showed a higher LH to FSH ratio (p < 0.01), increased fasting insulin (p < 0.001), total testosterone (p < 0.001), and androstenedione (p < 0.001) levels, and lower SHBG concentrations (p < 0.001) compared to control women. BMI and waist-to-hip ratio were also higher in women with PCOS (p < 0.000 and p < 0.001, respectively). Women with PCOS also showed increased total cholesterol (p < 0.001), triglyceride (p < 0.001), and apolipoprotein B (p < 0.001) levels. Vascular data showed women with PCOS had a higher anteroposterior diameter than control women (p < 0.005). However, when analysis of covariance was performed and BMI was entered into the model as a covariate, anteroposterior diameter did not maintain a significant association with PCOS.
Conclusion: This study shows that anteroposterior diameter of the infrarenal abdominal aorta, but not IMT of common carotid arteries or common femoral arteries, is higher in women with PCOS than in women without this disease. This represents the earliest atherosclerotic change in women with PCOS. However, this alteration seems to be due to body weight secondary to PCOS and not due to PCOS per se.
Keywords: polycystic ovary syndrome, antero-posterior diameter, infrarenal abdominal aorta, intimia-media thickness
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