Context: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a multifaceted metabolic disease linked with insulin resistance (IR) and obesity. Recent studies have shown that plasma levels of the insulin-mimetic adipokine visfatin increase with obesity. Currently, no data exist on the relative expression of visfatin in either plasma or adipose tissue of PCOS women.
Objectives: We investigated the mRNA expression of visfatin from sc and omental (om) adipose tissue and sc adipocytes in women with PCOS compared with matched normal women, as well as visfatin protein in adipose tissue; plasma visfatin was also assessed.
Design: Real-time RT-PCR and Western blotting were used to assess the relative mRNA and protein expression of visfatin. Biochemical measurements were performed.
Results: There was significant up-regulation of visfatin mRNA in both sc (P < 0.05) and om (P < 0.05) adipose tissue of PCOS women, when compared with normal controls; these findings were also reflected in isolated sc adipocytes (PCOS > controls; P < 0.05). In addition to elevated plasma visfatin levels in women with PCOS (mean +/- sd, 30.2 +/- 10.4 vs. 11.2 +/- 6.2 ng/ml; P < 0.01) when compared with normal controls, visfatin protein levels were significantly greater in both sc and om adipose tissue of PCOS women (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively).
Conclusions: The precise reason for the up-regulation of visfatin seen in women with PCOS, a proinflammatory state, is unknown. Additional studies are needed to clarify the potential role of visfatin in the pathophysiology of PCOS.