Endocrine factors associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: do androgens play a role?

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Jan;26(1):39-46. doi: 10.3109/09513590903184084.


Objective: To characterise the metabolic profile of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and to determine whether circulating androgens differ in PCOS women with NAFLD compared to PCOS subjects without NAFLD.

Methods: Retrospective study of 21 women with PCOS, elevated liver enzymes and ultrasound evidence of hepatic steatosis matched with 32 PCOS women with normal liver enzymes. Extensive demographic, endocrine and metabolic data were compared. Pearson's correlation coefficients were calculated to assess for potential relationships between the free androgen index (FAI) and other dependent variables.

Results: PCOS subjects with NAFLD demonstrate greater insulin resistance but have similar circulating androgen levels.

Conclusion: In this pilot study, insulin resistance was the most prominent feature characterising NAFLD complicating PCOS. Total testosterone, FAI, DHEAS and 17-hydroxyprogesterone levels were similar between patients with PCOS and without NAFLD.

MeSH terms

  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone / blood
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate / blood
  • Fatty Liver / blood
  • Fatty Liver / complications
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperandrogenism / blood
  • Hyperandrogenism / complications
  • Hyperandrogenism / metabolism*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Thyrotropin / blood


  • Insulin
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Prolactin
  • Thyrotropin