Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common heterogeneous disorder, where insulin resistance might be involved in the development of endocrine and metabolic abnormalities. Insulin resistance (IR) is connected with disturbances in switching between lipid and carbohydrate oxidation in response to insulin, called “metabolic inflexibility”. The aim of the present study was to estimate the whole-body insulin sensitivity, lipid and carbohydrate oxidation, metabolic flexibility in lean and obese PCOS women. The study group consisted of 92 women with PCOS, 40 lean (BMI<25 kg/m2) and 52 overweight or obesity (BMI>25 kg/m2), and 30 healthy normally menstruating women (14 lean and 16 overweight/obese) with normal glucose tolerance. Hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp and indirect calorimetry were performed. An increase in respiratory exchange ratio in response to insulin was used as a measure of metabolic flexibility. Both the presence of PCOS (P<0.001) and obesity (P=0.005) were independently characterized by lower insulin sensitivity. PCOS (P=0.002) and obesity (P=0.001) independently predisposed to the lower non-oxidative glucose metabolism. Obese women had lower glucose oxidation (P=0.005) and higher lipid oxidation (P<0.001) in insulin-stimulated conditions in comparison to lean subject whereas PCOS had no effect on these parameters (P=0.29 and P=0.43; respectively). Metabolic flexibility was impaired in the obese (P=0.001) but it was not influenced by the presence of PCOS (P=0.78). Our data indicate that PCOS women have normal metabolic flexibility, which could suggest a distinct pathophysiological mechanism for insulin resistance in this group.
The Japan Endocrine Society