Objective: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are assumed to be at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. This study examined the variations in oxidised low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL) concentration in relation to insulin levels in young women with PCOS.
Design: Cross-sectional clinical study in tertiary cares research hospitals. A total of 179 women with PCOS (79 overweight) and 56 age- and body mass index-matched controls were examined.
Methods: Blood samples were collected in follicular phase of the cycle for the basal glucose, total-, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and LDL-cholesterol, OxLDL, triglycerides, apolipoprotein–A1 (Apo-A1) and B (Apo-B), lipoprotein (a), insulin, testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Homeostatic model index (HOMA) and free androgen index (FAI) were determined.
Results: Overweight and normal weight women with PCOS had higher concentrations of OxLDL than their control counterparts (P=0.007 and 0.003 respectively). Both the basal insulin (P=0.003) and HOMA values (P<0.001) were significantly higher in overweight than normal weight patients. Testosterone and FAI were higher in patients than in the respective controls (P<0.001). The only independent predictor of increased OxLDL concentration in normal weight patients was Apo-B-to-Apo-A1 ratio (P<0.001, odds ratio (OR) 6.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.3–16.4), while in obese PCOS, it was total cholesterol-to-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio (P<0.001, OR 2.8; 95% CI 1.6–4.9).
Conclusion: Young normal weight and overweight PCOS women have similarly increased OxLDL levels. Our results may indicate the presence of primary alteration in lipid metabolism in patients with PCOS. To answer the question whether the alteration in LDL particle size can by itself pose a higher cardiovascular risk, a careful follow-up of these women is needed.