2018 Volume 65 Issue 10 Pages 979-990
11-oxygenated C19 steroids (11oxC19s) are newly specified human androgens. Although median serum levels of 11oxC19 were reported to be higher in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) than in unaffected women, inter-individual variations in androgen levels among PCOS patients have poorly been investigated. Here, we quantified four 11oxC19s, i.e., 11-ketotestosterone (11KT), 11β-hydroxytestosterone (11OHT), 11β-hydroxyandrostenedione (11OHΔ4A), and 11-ketoandrostenedione (11KΔ4A), in blood samples of 28 PCOS patients and 31 eumenorrheic women using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. We referred to our previous data of classic androgens in these individuals. We found that 11OHT levels were higher in the PCOS group than in the eumenorrheic group. Moreover, although the median values of 11KT, 11KΔ4A, and 11OHΔ4A were comparable between the two groups, these steroids were markedly increased in some patients. Of the 28 patients, 8 had high levels of both 11oxC19s and classic androgens, whereas 4 had an increase only in 11oxC19 levels, and 12 had an increase only in classic androgen levels. Intragroup variations in androgen levels were relatively large in the PCOS group. Levels of 11OHT and 11KT were significantly higher in overweight/obese patients than in normal weight patients and correlated with body mass indexes. These results highlight the clinical significance of 11oxC19s as circulating androgens in PCOS patients and indicate that the accumulation of 11oxC19s and/or classic androgens is an essential feature of PCOS. The profiles of circulating androgens appear to vary among patients. In particular, overweight/obesity likely enhances the 11oxC19s accumulation in PCOS, although this notion awaits further validation.