Role of inositolphosphoglycan mediators of insulin action in the polycystic ovary syndrome

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2000;13 Suppl 5:1295-8.


Evidence suggests that some actions of insulin are mediated by putative inositolphosphoglycan (IPG) mediators, also known as second messengers. We review studies indicating that the IPG signaling system transduces insulin's stimulation of human thecal androgen biosynthesis, thus offering a mechanism by which insulin can stimulate ovarian androgen production even in women with PCOS whose tissues are resistant to insulin's stimulation of glucose metabolism. Furthermore, a deficiency in a specific D-chiro-inositol-containing IPG may contribute to insulin resistance in women with PCOS. In support of this idea, administration of D-chiro-inositol has been demonstrated to improve glucose tolerance, decrease serum androgens and improve ovulation in PCOS. The hypothesis is advanced that PCOS may be characterized by a defect in the conversion of myo-inositol to D-chiro-inositol, and that such a defect would contribute to both insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism in the syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inositol / analogs & derivatives
  • Inositol / therapeutic use
  • Inositol Phosphates
  • Insulin / physiology*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Oligosaccharides / physiology*
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Polysaccharides


  • Androgens
  • Inositol Phosphates
  • Insulin
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides
  • inositol phosphate glycan
  • Inositol