Inositol in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Restoring Fertility through a Pathophysiology-Based Approach

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Nov;29(11):768-780. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2018.09.001. Epub 2018 Sep 27.


Myo-inositol (MI) and D-chiro-inositol (DCI) are insulin second messengers, and MI is involved in follicular gonadotropin pathways which orchestrate ovulation. The tissue-specific MI/DCI ratio is modulated by insulin through aromatase and is altered in insulin resistance (IR), with reduced epimerization of MI to DCI in insulin-sensitive tissues. In ovaries, the MI/DCI ratio is 100:1, but is dramatically reduced by insulin-stimulated epimerase in hyperinsulinemic women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Inositols have proved to be effective in PCOS, improving metabolic and hormonal state, and restoring spontaneous ovulation. In assisted reproductive technology, inositol improved ovarian stimulation parameters, although data concerning fertility outcomes are conflicting. Given their functions, inositols are an attractive treatment option for PCOS, although well-designed studies on spontaneous and non-spontaneous fertility are needed.

Keywords: D-chiro-inositol; fertility; insulin resistance; myo-inositol; polycystic ovary syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects*
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inositol / metabolism*
  • Inositol / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*


  • Inositol