Endocrinology: Insulin resistant and non-resistant polycystic ovary syndrome represent two clinical and endocrinological subgroups

D. Meirow*, O. Yossepowitch, A. Rösler, A. Brzezinski, J. G. Schenker, N. Laufer, I. Raz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the clinical and endocrine features of 35 patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who are either insulin resistant or non-insulin resistant. The occurrence of insulin resistance was determined by measuring insulin and glucose concentrations following a standard 75 g oral glucose load. All patients were evaluated by anthropometric measurements: body mass index (BMI), percentage of body fat (BCF) and waist-to-hip ratio (W/H), degree of hirsutism (Ferriman-Gallwey method) and endocrine profile. Fourteen patients had insulin resistance of unknown origin whereas four were due to a type A insulin receptor mutation, and 17 were non-insulin resistant. The insulin resistant patients were significantly more obese (higher BMI P < 0.0001, BCF P < 0.002 and W/H ratio P < 0.005) and were more hirsute (P < 0.002) than the non-insulin resistant patients. Testosterone concentrations were significantly higher in the insulin resistant group than in the non-insulin resistant group (2.65 versus 1.37 nmol/l; P < 0.027), whereas sex hormone-binding globulin was lower in insulin resistant patients (30.61 versus 19.48 nmol/l; P < 0.02). Non-insulin resistant patients showed a high luteinizing hormone to follicle stimulating hormone ratio, while a normal ratio was found in the insulin resistant subpopulation (2.94 versus 1.34; P < 0.0001). We concluded that PCOS comprises two subpopulations, one with insulin resistance of different aetiologies and the other which has no insulin resistance. These two groups differ in their anthropometric and endocrine features. The diagnosis of insulin resistance in PCOS can be easily determined by the insulin response to an oral glucose tolerance test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1951-1956
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Androgens
  • Gonadotrophins
  • Insulin resistant
  • Obesity
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome


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