Exercise training improves autonomic function and inflammatory pattern in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2008 Nov;69(5):792-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2008.03305.x. Epub 2008 May 23.


Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common female reproductive-age endocrine disease predominantly characterized by chronic anovulation, hyperandrogenism, insulin-resistance and low-grade inflammatory status. Exercise training (ET) favourably modulates cardiopulmonary function and insulin-sensitivity markers in PCOS women. The present study investigated the effects of ET on autonomic function and inflammatory pattern in PCOS women.

Study design: Prospective baseline uncontrolled clinical study.

Methods: One-hundred and eighty five PCOS women referred to our department were screened for the inclusion into the study protocol from March 2004 to July 2007. One-hundred and twenty four PCOS women met the criteria for the inclusion into the study protocol and were subdivided into two groups each composed of 62 patients: PCOS-T (trained) group underwent 3-month ET program, whereas PCOS-UnT (untrained) group did not. At baseline and at 3-month follow-up, hormonal and metabolic profile, cardiopulmonary parameters, autonomic function (as expressed by heart rate recovery, HRR) and inflammatory pattern [as expressed by C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cells (WBCs) count] were evaluated.

Results: PCOS-T showed a significant (P < 0.05) improvement in maximal oxygen consumption (VO(2max)) and in post-exercise HRR, and a significant (P < 0.001) decrease in CRP and WBCs; whereas no statistically significant changes of the same parameters were observed in PCOS-UnT. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that 3-month HRR is linearly related to the inclusion in training group (beta = 0.316, P < 0.001), VO(2max) (beta = 0.151, P = 0.032) and the ratio between glucose and insulin area under curve (AUC) (beta = 0.207, P = 0.003), and inversely related to body mass index (beta = -0.146, P = 0.046), insulin AUC (beta = -0.152, P = 0.032), CRP (beta = -0.165, P < 0.021), and WBCs count (beta = -0.175, P = 0.039).

Conclusions: Exercise training improves autonomic function and inflammatory pattern in PCOS women.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Fasting / blood
  • Fasting / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / therapy*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy*
  • Waist-Hip Ratio
  • Young Adult


  • Insulin