Introduction: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition affecting up to 18% of reproductive-aged women. In addition to reproductive complications, women with PCOS have elevated risk factors for cardiovascular disease including insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia. Lipidomics identifies specific molecular lipid species and classes and subclasses with important implications for lipid profiling for disease classification, risk assessment and lipid metabolism associated with specific disease states. There is no research examining lipidomics in PCOS and the pathphysiological features of hyperandrogenism and insulin resistance in PCOS.
Methods: In biobanked samples, we examined the lipidomic profile in 156 pre-menopausal overweight women (n=92 with PCOS and 64 without PCOS), specifically 24 lipid classes comprising 325 species using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.
Results: There were no differences in lipid classes or species between women with or without PCOS. There were no association of lipid classes with total testosterone on unadjusted or adjusted models. There was a significant negative association of SHBG with diacylglycerol and triacylglyercol on adjusted models. There was a significant positive association of FAI with ceramide, phosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, diacylglycerol and triacylglyercol on adjusted models.
Conclusion: While PCOS status was not associated with differences in lipid classes or species, SHBG and FAI (as key pathophysiological aspects in PCOS and correlates of obesity) were associated with differences in a number of lipid classes. This highlights the interaction between reproductive hormones in women and cardiovascular risk, independent of PCOS status.