Associations of insulin resistance, sex hormone-binding globulin, triglyceride, and hormonal profiles in polycystic ovary syndrome: A cross-sectional study


Background: Insulin resistance (IR) occurs in 50–70% of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and can be applied as a prediabetic feature in PCOS.

Objective: In this study, indirect methods including fasting blood sugar (FBS), fasting insulin (FI), FBS/FI ratio, and quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) were compared with the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) as a standard technique. The association of IR to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and several hormones was also analyzed.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed on 74 PCOS women. Sensitivity and specificity of each IR method was calculated based on HOMA-IR. Hormonal profiles of the patients were compared between the groups with defined normal and abnormal values of IR.

Results: Triglyceride levels had a positive association with FBS and HOMA-IR (p = 0.002 and p = 0.01, respectively) with a negative association to QUICKI and SHBG (p = 0.02 and p = 0.02, respectively). SHBG showed a significant negative association with FBS (p = 0.001). Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate showed a positive association with FI (p = 0.002). Seven PCOS women showed abnormal SHBG levels (< 36 nmol/L) while expressed normal values of the rest of the studied variables. FI and QUICKI had the highest sensitivity while FBS/FI and QUICKI had the highest specificity when HOMA-IR was applied as a standard test.

Conclusion: SHBG and triglyceride had a significant negative and positive association with IR, respectively. HOMA-IR followed by FI and QUICKI is the most sensitive test for the detection of IR. SHBG levels can be a helpful biomarker for the diagnosis of PCOS.

Key words: Polycystic ovary syndrome, Insulin resistance, Sex hormone-binding globulin.

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