Reproductive system

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may store fat differently than women who don't have the common infertility disorder, according to a UCLA study conducted by Dr. Daniel A. Dumesic and colleagues. 

The study authors found that women with PCOS tended to accumulate fat around the internal organs of the abdomen. The women also were less likely to store fat beneath the skin surrounding the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs, compared to women who did not have the condition. The PCOS patients all had high androgen levels, which the researchers believe could have influenced how they store fat and how their fat cells function.

According to the researchers, this altered pattern of fat storage may account for the higher risk for diabetes and heart disease frequently seen in women who have PCOS. In the study, women with the condition used insulin less efficiently than other women and tended to have higher levels of the blood fats and cholesterol types that have been linked with heart disease.

The study appeared in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and received funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the NIH Office of the Director, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, through the UCLA CTSI.

More information:

Read the full NICHD release here.

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