Putative role for insulin resistance in depression risk in polycystic ovary syndrome

Insulin resistance was found to be linked to depression risk, after controlling for potential confounders, in women who have polycystic ovary syndrome.


Eleni A. Greenwood, M.D., M.Sc., Lauri A. Pasch, Ph.D., Kanade Shinkai, M.D., Ph.D., Marcelle I. Cedars, M.D., Heather G. Huddleston, M.D.

Volume 104, Issue 3, Pages 707-714



To evaluate whether insulin resistance is associated with depression risk in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), independent of other factors, including body mass index (BMI).




Tertiary university center.


A total of 301 women, aged 14–52 years, with PCOS by Rotterdam criteria, consecutively examined between 2006 and 2013.


Complete history and physical examinations, including endovaginal ultrasounds, dermatologic assessments, completion of Beck Depression Inventory Fast Screen (BDI-FS), and serum testing.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Scores >4 on BDI-FS indicated a positive screen for depression. Scores were further subdivided into mild (5–8), moderate (9–12), and severe (>12) depression risk. Insulin resistance was assessed using the Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR).


A total of 131 women (44%) were at risk for depression, determined by positive BDI-FS screening. These patients had higher BMI (32.3 vs. 28.5), and elevated insulin resistance, assessed by HOMA-IR (5.2 vs. 2.6), compared with patients with negative depression screening. In a stratified analysis by BMI category, obese women with positive depression screens had elevated HOMA-IR, compared with obese women with normal BDI-FS scores (7.4 vs. 4.1). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, HOMA-IR was independently related to the odds of depression risk after controlling for age, ethnicity, BMI, and exercise (odds ratio: 1.07).


Depression is common in PCOS. After controlling for confounders in multivariate regression analyses, we found HOMA-IR to be significantly associated with depression risk. Our data suggest a complex interplay among insulin resistance, obesity, and depression in PCOS, warranting additional investigation. Mental health assessment is indicated in comprehensive care of patients with PCOS.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(15)00366-0/fulltext

Please sign in or register for FREE

Your Fertility and Sterility Dialog login information is not the same as your ASRM or EES credentials. Users must create a separate account to comment or interact on the Dialog.