Plasma homocysteine, fasting insulin, and androgen patterns among women with polycystic ovaries and infertility

E. S. Sills, M. G. Genton, M. Perloe, G. L. Schattman, J. A. Bralley, M. J. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: To measure plasma homocysteine, androgen, and insulin concentrations in women with normal and polycystic-appearing ovaries in an infertility setting. Methods: Among women referred for infertility evaluation (n = 54), homocysteine, androstenedione, DHEAS, total testosterone, fasting insulin/glucose and methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) polymorphism status (C677T mutation) were studied. Ovaries were examined via transvaginal sonogram by one observer and scored as either normal (n = 18) or polycystic (n = 36). Results: When polycystic ovaries were identified, mean total testosterone was significantly higher than when non-polycystic ovaries were present (p = 0.01), although no measured androgen was outside the normal reference range in either group. Average BMI was higher in the polycystic group, but the difference was not significant (p = 0.10). We observed a trend toward higher mean fasting insulin levels in women with polycystic ovaries, but this increase did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.07). Median plasma homocysteine was identical (7.0 mmol/l) in both populations, and no study subject exceeded the current recommended maximum reference value. Conclusions: In this population, the presence of polycystic ovaries was associated with higher serum androgens (especially total testosterone) although none of the measured androgens were above the normal range. While fasting insulin levels were also higher in this group, median plasma homocysteine levels were similar irrespective of ovarian morphology. Concomitant plasma homocysteine derangements in this population of young, lean patients with polycystic-appearing ovaries seem unlikely. Further studies are needed to clarify the role(s) of homocysteine in human reproductive physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Homocysteine
  • Hyperandrogenism
  • Polycystic ovary
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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