Obstructive sleep apnea and metabolic dysfunction in polycystic ovary syndrome

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct;24(5):717-30. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2010.08.001.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an underrecognized, yet significant factor in the pathogenesis of metabolic derangements in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Recent findings suggest that there may be two "subtypes" of PCOS, i.e. PCOS with or without OSA, and these two subtypes may be associated with distinct metabolic and endocrine alterations. PCOS women with OSA may be at much higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease than PCOS women without OSA and may benefit from therapeutic interventions targeted to decrease the severity of OSA. The present chapter will review what is currently known about the roles of sex steroids and adiposity in the pathogenesis of OSA, briefly review the metabolic consequences of OSA as well as the metabolic abnormalities associated with PCOS, review the prevalence of OSA in PCOS and finally present early findings regarding the impact of treatment of OSA on metabolic measures in PCOS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / physiology
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Progesterone / physiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / metabolism
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiopathology


  • Androgens
  • Progesterone