Body composition of lean women with polycystic ovary syndrome

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most frequent endocrine and metabolic disorders in reproductive age women, and it is related to changes in body size, shape and composition. Anthropometric somatotype is a quantitative description of the individual’s body shape and composition classified as endomorphy, mesomorphy or ectomorphy. Since PCOS somatotype has never previously been studied, here we evaluate body shape and composition phenomena in lean women with polycystic ovary syndrome and assess relationships with metabolic parameters. The study of 20-35 year-old women was carried out at the Department of Anatomy, Histology and Anthropology at Vilnius University. Standard anthropometric instruments and methods were used, and J. Matiegka’s equations calculated skeletal mass, skin and subcutaneous adipose tissue and muscles and internal organs. In addition, Heath - Carter’s somatotypes were computed, and the participants’ glucose, insulin, testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin and lipid levels were established. We analysed data from 120 women with a mean age of 27.30 ± 3.68 years. Lean women with PCOS had greater skeletal mass by 0.47 kg (p<0.05, Cohen’s d=1.14), greater skin and subcutaneous adipose tissue mass by 2.79 kg (p<0.05, Cohen’s d=6.07) and lower muscle mass by 1.47 kg (p<0.05, Cohen’s d=2.84) compared to control women (p<0.05). The mean PCOS somatotype ratio was 4.96-4.38-3.00 (SD 1.50-1.26-1.11). This classified women with PCOS as mesomorphic endomorphs, in contrast to healthy women who were endomorphic mesomorphs. The PCOS subjects’ skin and subcutaneous adipose tissue and endomorphy/mesomorphy somatotype positively correlated with insulin levels and the HOMA-IR. It was established that lean women with polycystic ovary syndrome had a mesomorphic endomorph somatotype and higher skin and subcutaneous adipose tissue mass, but less muscle mass than healthy lean women. In addition, skin and subcutaneous adipose tissue positively correlated with insulin level and HOMA-IR in lean PCOS women.

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