Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

J Hepatol. 2007 Sep;47(3):412-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2007.04.012. Epub 2007 May 24.


Background/aims: Insulin resistance is a common feature of both nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), therefore, we hypothesize that PCOS and NAFLD may coexist. The aim of the present study was to determine the frequency and characteristics of NAFLD in women with PCOS.

Methods: A prospective study of patients with PCOS and no current pharmacological treatment was conducted. NAFLD was diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound following exclusion of alcohol consumption, viral, or autoimmune liver disease. Anthropometric variables, serum levels of glucose, insulin, lipids and aminotransferases, and HOMA index were determined.

Results: Forty-one PCOS patients (mean age: 24.6+/-7.2yr, mean body mass index [BMI]: 30.3+/-7.0kg/m(2)) were included; 26 of 41 PCOS patients (63.4%) had insulin resistance and 17 (41.5%) had NAFLD. Nine of the NAFLD patients (64%) also had abnormal aminotransferases. Women with NAFLD and PCOS had a higher HOMA index and a higher waist-hip ratio than those with normal ultrasound. Patients with PCOS showed a higher frequency of NAFLD (41% vs. 19%) and insulin resistance (63% vs. 35.5%) than a control group.

Conclusions: NAFLD is frequent in patients with PCOS confirming a relevant clinical association between these two conditions. Women with PCOS should be screened for liver disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Fatty Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Fatty Liver / epidemiology*
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Transaminases / blood
  • Ultrasonography
  • Waist-Hip Ratio


  • Transaminases