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CONTEXT: Obesity-related predisposition to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) could reflect overall adiposity and/or regional accumulation of abdominal visceral fat. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to compare distributions of visceral, abdominal sc, and gluteofemoral sc adipose tissue in PCOS cases vs. control women. DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Fat depot measurements from axial magnetic resonance imaging scans taken at anatomically predefined sites were compared between 22 body mass index (BMI)/fat mass-matched pairs of PCOS cases and controls; whole-group comparisons included 50 PCOS cases vs. 28 female controls. All subjects were of UK British/Irish origin. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): We measured cross-sectional areas of adipose tissue within visceral (mid-L4), abdominal (mid-L4) sc, and gluteofemoral (greater trochanteric and midfemoral) sc fat depots. Other measurements included fat mass, BMI, testosterone, SHBG, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (a measure of insulin sensitivity). Whole-group analyses were adjusted for fat mass and age. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in fat-depot measurements between BMI/fat mass-matched pairs of PCOS cases and controls: mid-L4 visceral (P=0.40), abdominal sc (P=0.22), gluteal sc (P=0.67), and midfemoral sc (P=0.37) depots. Whole-group comparisons gave similar results after adjustments for fat mass and age. Fasting serum insulin concentrations (P=0.03) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (P=0.03) were significantly higher in the PCOS group than BMI/fat mass-matched controls. CONCLUSIONS: PCOS cases and BMI/fat mass-matched control women are indistinguishable with respect to distribution of fat within visceral, abdominal sc, and gluteofemoral sc depots, despite significant differences in insulin resistance between these two groups.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Endocrinol Metab

Publication Date





999 - 1004


Adipose Tissue, Adiposity, Adolescent, Adult, Body Composition, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome