Objective To summarize promising areas of investigation into polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and to stimulate further research in this area. Design Summary of a conference held by international researchers in the field of polycystic ovary syndrome. Results Potential areas of further research activity include the analysis of predisposing conditions that increase the risk of PCOS, particularly genetic background and environmental factors, such as endocrine disruptors and lifestyle. The concept that androgen excess may contribute to insulin resistance needs to be re-examined from a developmental perspective, since animal studies have supported the hypothesis that early exposure to modest androgen excess is associated with insulin resistance. Defining alterations of steroidogenesis in PCOS should quantify ovarian, adrenal and extraglandular contribution, as well as clearly define blood reference levels by some universal standard. Intraovarian regulation of follicle development and mechanisms of follicle arrest should be further elucidated. Finally, PCOS status is expected to have long-term consequences in women, specifically the development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and hormone dependent cancers. Identifying susceptible individuals through genomic and proteomic approaches would help to individualize therapy and prevention. Conclusions There are several intriguing areas for future research in PCOS. A potential limitation of our review is that we focused selectively on areas we viewed as the most controversial.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism