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Elisabeth Lerchbaum, Hans-Jürgen Gruber, Verena Schwetz, Albrecht Giuliani, Reinhard Möller, Thomas R Pieber, and Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch


Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) frequently suffer from metabolic disturbances and might be affected by hepatic steatosis. The fatty liver index (FLI) was developed as a simple and accurate predictor of hepatic steatosis. We aimed to analyze the association of FLI with endocrine and metabolic parameters in a cohort of PCOS and control women.


FLI was calculated using body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, triglycerides, and gamma-glutamyl transferase in 611 PCOS and 139 BMI-matched control women within the same age range. Elevated FLI was defined as >60. Metabolic, endocrine, and anthropometric measurements and oral glucose tolerance tests were performed.


PCOS women had significantly higher FLI levels than control women in age-adjusted analyses (11.4 (4.3–48.8) and 8.8 (3.9–35.0), respectively, P=0.001), whereas fibrosis indices were similar (aspartate amino transferase-to-platelet ratio index) or lower (FIB-4) respectively. In binary logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, odds ratio (OR) for elevated FLI was 2.52 (1.31–4.85), P=0.006, for PCOS women when compared with controls. PCOS women with high FLI levels had an adverse anthropometric, metabolic, and endocrine risk profile. The prevalence of elevated FLI was 88.7% in PCOS women with metabolic syndrome (MS) and 11.3% in PCOS women without MS (P<0.001). In control women, elevated FLI was present in 66.7% of women with MS and 30.8% of women without MS.


High FLI levels are a common finding in obese PCOS women and are closely linked to MS. FLI calculation might be a useful tool for identifying PCOS patients at high risk for metabolic and hepatic disturbances.