Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by hormonal abnormalities that cause menstrual irregularity and reduce ovulation rate and fertility, associated to insulin resistance. Myo-inositol (cis-1,2,3,5-trans-4,6-cyclohexanehexol, MI) and D-chiro-inositol (cis-1,2,4-trans-3,5,6-cyclohexanehexol, DCI) represent promising treatments for PCOS, having shown some therapeutic benefits without substantial side effects. Because the use of inositols for treating PCOS is widespread, a deep understanding of this treatment option is needed, both in terms of potential mechanisms and efficacy. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the biological effects of MI and DCI and the results obtained from relevant intervention studies with inositols in PCOS. Based on the published results, both MI and DCI represent potential valid therapeutic approaches for the treatment of insulin resistance and its associated metabolic and reproductive disorders, such as those occurring in women affected by PCOS. Furthermore, the combination MI/DCI seems also effective and might be even superior to either inositol species alone. However, based on available data, a particular MI:DCI ratio to be administered to PCOS patients cannot be established. Further studies are then necessary to understand the real contents of MI or DCI uptaken by the ovary following oral administration in order to identify optimal doses and/or combination ratios.
Keywords: D-chiro-inositol; inositol; insulin resistance; myo-inositol; polycystic ovary syndrome.