Decreased cholesterol efflux capacity and atherogenic lipid profile in young women with PCOS

Andrea Roe, Jennifer Hillman, Samantha Butts, Mathew Smith, Daniel Rader, Martin Playford, Nehal N. Mehta, Anuja Dokras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Context: Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors including dyslipidemia. Lipoproteins are heterogeneous, and measurement of serum lipids provides only the size of the pool and does not predict their function or composition. Recently, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) function, as determined by cholesterol efflux capacity from macrophages, has been shown to be an independent predictor of subclinical CVD. Objective: The aim of the study was to comprehensively evaluate lipoprotein profile including lipid particle size and number and cholesterol efflux capacity in PCOS to better define CVD risk. Design and Setting: A case control study was performed at an academic PCOS center. Patients:Womenwith PCOS (n124) and geographically matched controls (n67) were included in the study. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was to measure HDL-C efflux capacity by an ex vivo system involving the incubation of macrophages with apolipoprotein (Apo) B-depletedserumfrom subjects, and the secondary outcome was to measure lipid particle size and number using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Results: Women with PCOS had significantly higher body mass index and blood pressure but similar HDL-C and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels compared to controls. ThemeanApoA1levels were lower, and the ApoB/ApoA1 ratio was higher in PCOS subjects compared to controls (P<.01). There were no differences in ApoB levels. Women with PCOS had an 7% decrease in normalized cholesterol efflux capacity compared to controls (P < .003). Cholesterol efflux capacity in PCOS correlated with body mass index, ApoA1, HDL-C, and the presence of metabolic syndrome. In a multivariable regression model, PCOS was significantly associated with diminished cholesterol efflux. PCOS was also associated with an atherogenic profile including an increase in large very low-density lipoprotein particles, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) size, and small low-density lipoprotein cholesterol particles (P < .01). Conclusions: Our novel findings of decreased cholesterol efflux and an atherogenic lipid particle number and size pattern in women with PCOS, independent of obesity, further substantiate the increased risk of CVD in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E841-E847
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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