Adrenal Hyperandrogenism and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Author(s): Manuel Luque-Ramírez, Héctor F. Escobar-Morreale

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 22 , Issue 36 , 2016

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Background: The prevalence of adrenal hyperandrogenism (AH), as defined by increased circulating dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS) levels, ranges from 15 to 45% in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Methods: The aim of this review is to update the pathogenesis and consequences of AH in PCOS, from molecular genetics to the clinical setting.

Results: Mounting evidence derived from animal models suggests that genetically or enviromentally determined prenatal androgen excess, by influencing the hormonal and metabolic phenotype of susceptible female fetuses later in life, may be the capital event for the development of AH in PCOS. Because human placental aromatase activity is likely to prevent any deleterious effect of maternal hyperandrogenemia on the fetus, inheritance of the maternal steroidogenic defect is the more likely culprit, even though other factors such as changes in placental steroidogenesis itself or its nutritional efflux may also be involved in the building a deregulated enzymatic pathway from utero to adult life. Anyhow, the most important issue is whether or not AH influences the cardiometabolic risk of women with PCOS. On the one hand, AH has shown a controversial relationship with carbohydrate metabolism and adiposity, and is also associated with abnormalities in blood pressure regulation in these patients. On the other hand, DHEAS may exert a beneficial effect on the lipid profile of both lean and obese patients. Lastly, available studies in women with PCOS cast doubt upon a protective role of DHEAS levels on subclinical atherosclerosis, despite opposite data from the general population.

Conclusion: AH is frequent in patients with PCOS yet unraveling its consequences for the management of this disorder requires future longitudinal studies.

Keywords: Adrenal cortex, Cardiovascular risk factors, Genetics, Ovarian functional hyperandrogenism, Polycystic ovary syndrome, Prenatal androgenization, Steroidogenesis.

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Article Details

Year: 2016
Published on: 10 November, 2016
Page: [5588 - 5602]
Pages: 15
DOI: 10.2174/1381612822666160720150625
Price: $65

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