Comparing classic and newer phenotypes in Greek PCOS women: the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and their association with insulin resistance

J Endocrinol Invest. Jul-Aug 2013;36(7):478-84. doi: 10.3275/8771. Epub 2012 Nov 27.


Objective: Recently, it has been debated whether the new polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) phenotypes, according to the Rotterdam criteria, share the same metabolic risk with the classic ones (National Institutes of Health 1990). Our study sought to compare the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MS) and glucose homeostasis disorders in Greek women with classic and new PCOS phenotypes.

Materials and methods: Two hundred and sixty-six Greek PCOS women were recruited and divided into groups according to two of the three Rotterdam criteria that they fulfilled. Two subgroups were formed; the first represented the classic phenotypes and the second the new phenotypes. The clinical, biochemical, and ultrasound characteristics of both groups were explored. All subjects were evaluated for MS and underwent a 2-h glucose tolerance test to assess insulin resistance (IR) as measured by the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR), quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI), and MATSUDA indices.

Results: 62.4% of PCOS women were classified as classic NIH phenotypes of which 32 women had MS (prevalence 19.6%). Only 4 patients categorized in the newer phenotypic groups had MS (prevalence 4.1%). Among the subjects with classic phenotypes, 11.7% exhibited impaired glucose tolerance (3-fold higher percentage compared to patients with newer phenotypes). Regarding IR indices, HOMA-IR was significantly higher and QUICKI significantly lower for classic phenotypes.

Conclusions: Greek PCOS women with classic phenotypes are at increased risk for MS and impaired glucose homeostasis compared to women with newer phenotypes. A subclassification of PCOS permits the earlier recognition and closer surveillance of women whose metabolic profile indicates potential risks for adverse health outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phenotype*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / genetics
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk