Effect of pioglitazone on glucose metabolism and luteinizing hormone secretion in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Fertil Steril. 2006 Aug;86(2):385-97. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.12.067. Epub 2006 Jun 16.


Objective: To thoroughly examine the mechanisms for insulin resistance in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and to evaluate the effects of pioglitazone treatment on insulin resistance, beta-cell function, LH secretion, and glucose metabolism.

Design: Randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study.

Setting: Outpatient clinic, at a university hospital in Denmark.

Patient(s): Thirty obese women with PCOS and 14 weight-matched healthy females.

Intervention(s): Sixteen weeks of blinded treatment with pioglitazone (30 mg/d) or placebo.

Main outcome measure(s): Fasting blood samples, 24-hour 20-minute integrated blood sampling (LH, insulin, and C-peptide), euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamps including 3-(3)H glucose, and indirect calorimetry were performed before and after the intervention period.

Result(s): Patients with PCOS had significantly lower insulin sensitivity compared with controls, including significantly decreased insulin-stimulated oxidative and nonoxidative glucose metabolism. Pioglitazone treatment resulted in significantly lower levels of fasting insulin and significantly higher insulin sensitivity, increased insulin-stimulated glucose oxidation, and increased insulin-stimulated inhibition of lipid oxidation. During 24-hour blood sampling, significantly lower area under-the-curve insulin and lower median insulin levels were observed. Secretion profiles of LH and E(2) and T levels did not change significantly.

Conclusion(s): Insulin resistance in PCOS was characterized by hyperinsulinemia, impaired insulin-stimulated oxidative and nonoxidative glucose metabolism, which was partly reversed by pioglitazone treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fasting / blood
  • Female
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / etiology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Menstrual Cycle / drug effects
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Pioglitazone
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Thiazolidinediones / therapeutic use*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hormones
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Pioglitazone