Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2015 Dec;16(4):365-71. doi: 10.1007/s11154-016-9326-7.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a heterogeneous disorder of unclear etiopathogenesis that is likely to involve genetic and environmental components synergistically contributing to its phenotypic expression. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and in particular Bisphenol A (BPA) represent a group of widespread pollutants intensively investigated as possible environmental contributors to PCOS pathogenesis. Substantial evidence from in vitro and animal studies incriminates endocrine disruptors in the induction of reproductive and metabolic aberrations resembling PCOS characteristics. In humans, elevated BPA concentrations are observed in adolescents and adult PCOS women compared to reproductively healthy ones and are positively correlated with hyperandrogenemia, implying a potential role of the chemical in PCOS pathophysiology, although a causal interference cannot yet be established. It is plausible that developmental exposure to specific EDCs could permanently alter neuroendocrine, reproductive and metabolic regulation favoring PCOS development in genetically predisposed individuals or it could accelerate and/or exacerbate the natural course of the syndrome throughout life cycle exposure.

Keywords: Bisphenol A; Endocrine disrupting chemicals; Metabolism; PCOS; Reproduction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / blood*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperandrogenism / blood*
  • Phenols / blood*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol A