Distinguishing characteristics of metabolically healthy versus metabolically unhealthy obese adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome

Among obese girls with polycystic ovary syndrome, 27% who are metabolically healthy have a more favorable risk profile for type 2 diabetes, atherogenesis, inflammation, and androgenemia compared with the 73% who are metabolically unhealthy.


Joon Young Kim, Ph.D., Hala Tfayli, M.D., Sara F. Michaliszyn, Ph.D., Sojung Lee, Ph.D., Silva Arslanian, M.D.

Volume 105, Issue 6, Pages 1603-1611



To investigate the key physical, metabolic, hormonal and cardiovascular characteristics of metabolically healthy obese (MHO) versus unhealthy obese (MUHO) girls with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


Cross-sectional study.


Research center.


Seventy obese girls with PCOS were divided into 19 MHO and 51 MUHO based on cutoff points for in vivo insulin sensitivity (≤2 and >2 SDs of that of normal-weight girls’ values, respectively).



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Body composition, abdominal fat, in vivo insulin sensitivity and secretion (hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic and hyperglycemic clamps respectively), hormonal profile, and cardiovascular disease risk markers.


MUHO-PCOS girls had higher waist circumference, visceral adipose tissue, leptin, and free testosterone, lower SHBG and E2, higher non–high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and atherogenic lipoprotein particle concentrations, smaller HDL particle size, and higher high-sensitivity C-reactive protein compared with MHO-PCOS girls. Hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity were lower with higher first- and second-phase insulin secretion, but β-cell function relative to insulin sensitivity was lower in MUHO versus MHO. Pair matching of MHO and MUHO regarding age and body mass index revealed similar findings. MUHO-PCOS girls had larger visceral adiposity, lower insulin sensitivity and β-cell function, worse hormonal profile, and severely atherogenic lipoprotein concentrations compared with MHO-PCOS girls.


MHO-PCOS girls have favorable physical, metabolic, hormonal, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) characteristics and lower risk biomarkers for type 2 diabetes compared with their MUHO-PCOS peers. A greater understanding of the contrast in this risk phenotype in obese girls with PCOS may have important implications for therapeutic interventions, their outcomes, and their durability.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(16)00088-1/fulltext

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