Study reveals new findings about polycystic ovary syndrome and insulin resistance
A study published in the journal Diabetes reveals new insights about polycystic ovarian syndrome ( PCOS) and insulin resistance. It seems that these endocrine disorders are caused by some small RNA molecules called miR-93. These small RNA molecules prevent glucose usage in the cells leading to PCOS and insulin resistance. Dr. Ricardo Azziz, reproductive endocrinologist and PCOS expert at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, said this is the first time that a study shows that a defect occurs both in women with insulin resistance and in women with PCOS. He also added that identifying these molecular mechanisms help to a better understanding of these disorders and the development of targeted therapies in the future.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is an endocrine disorder characterized by infertility and hyperandrogenism, that is high levels of male hormones in the blood. Symptoms range from mild endocrine disturbances to amenorrhea, obesity, hirsutism, acne, etc. Besides these symptoms, there are also other hallmarks such as irregular menstruation and insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It should be said that PCOS is one of the most common cause of infertility and studies show that about 10% of women suffer from this syndrome.
In order to find more about the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease, researchers conducted a study in which they analyzed fat cells in the lower abdomen of 21 women with PCOS and 20 healthy women. The researchers found that all women with PCOS have over expression of miR-93 and a low expression of GLUT4, a protein with a role in regulating the utilization of glucose in adipocytes. It seems that the lowest expression of GLUT4 was found in women who had PCOS and insulin resistance. Moreover, researchers found that women in the control group who were insulin resistant also had a low expression of GLUT4. Azziz said that low levels of GLUT4 in adipocytes appear to affect insulin resistance in general but especially PCOS.
Another interesting finding was that two other microRNAs – miR-133 and miR-223, which are known to influence the expression of GLUT4 in heart muscle cells, were also over expressed but only in fat cells of women with PCOS. However it is not known yet if the two microRNAs are related with miR-93. “We are just beginning to understand the role of these small molecules in PCOS and insulin resistance and much work remains to be done,” Azziz said.
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