The study investigated the presence of early vascular damage and chronic inflammation, and their relationships with hormonal and metabolic parameters in 45 young women with PCOS in comparison with thirty-two healthy age-matched controls. Hormonal and metabolic profiles, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), tumoral necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), endothelin-1 (ET-1), brachial flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) were determined in both groups. Compared with the controls, women with PCOS had significantly lower FMD and respectively higher ET-1 levels (p=0.001). No differences were observed between the groups in terms of CIMT or inflammatory markers. In the PCOS group, ET-1 levels were significantly correlated with only testosterone concentrations (r = 0.31, p = 0.037), whereas the hsCRP levels were independently predicted only by body mass index (BMI). Within the total group, the PCOS status was the sole significant predictor of ET-1 levels and the only independent predictor of FMD. In conclusion, there is evidence of endothelial dysfunction associated with increased levels of androgen hormones in young women with PCOS. The combination of endothelial dysfunction and coexistent obesity promoting inflammation contributes to the progression of atherogenesis in PCOS. The PCOS status should be regarded as a predictor marker of cardiovascular risk, along with well-known cardiovascular risk factors.
 Diamanti-Kandarakis E., Spina G., Kouli C., Migdalis I., Increased endothelin-1 levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and the beneficial effect of metformin therapy, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab., 2001, 86, 4666–4673 http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.86.10.4666
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