Inositol administration reduces oxidative stress in erythrocytes of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome

Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 Apr;166(4):703-10. doi: 10.1530/EJE-11-0840. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


Objective: Possibly due to a deficiency of insulin mediators, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often associated with insulin resistance (IR) and hyperinsulinemia, likely responsible for an elevated production of reactive oxygen species. We investigated oxidative-related alterations in erythrocytes and anti-inflammatory effects of inositol in women with PCOS before and after treatment with myo-inositol (MYO).

Methods: Twenty-six normal-weight PCOS patients were investigated before and after MYO administration (1200 mg/day for 12 weeks; n=18) or placebo (n=8) by evaluating serum testosterone, serum androstenedione, fasting serum insulin, fasting serum glucose, insulin area under the curve (AUC), and glucose AUC after oral glucose tolerance test and homeostasis model of assessment-IR. In erythrocytes, band 3 tyrosine phosphorylation (Tyr-P) level, glutathione (GSH) content, and glutathionylated proteins (GSSP) were also assessed.

Results: Data show that PCOS patients' erythrocytes underwent oxidative stress as indicated by band 3 Tyr-P values, reduced cytosolic GSH content, and increased membrane protein glutathionylation. MYO treatment significantly improved metabolic and biochemical parameters. Significant reductions were found in IR and serum values of androstenedione and testosterone. A significant association between band 3 Tyr-P levels and insulin AUC was found at baseline but disappeared after MYO treatment, while a correlation between band 3 Tyr-P and testosterone levels was detected both before and after MYO treatment.

Conclusions: PCOS patients suffer from a systemic inflammatory status that induces erythrocyte membrane alterations. Treatment with MYO is effective in reducing hormonal, metabolic, and oxidative abnormalities in PCOS patients by improving IR.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Erythrocyte Count
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inositol / administration & dosage
  • Inositol / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Placebos
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Placebos
  • Inositol