Objective: Hyperandrogenia and insulin resistance are heritable family traits, likely to cluster in children of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) mothers. Design: We performed a case control study of PCOS children (n = 32) compared with children from control women (n = 38) for reproductive and metabolic abnormalities, stratifying results by three Tanner stage groupings. The children underwent history and physical examinations, a 3-h timed urine collection, a 2-h oral glucose tolerance test, and abdominal ultrasound examination (females only). Serum was obtained in older children (age > 8 yr) who consented. Results: Urine LH levels were significantly lower in the Tanner IV-V PCOS girls compared with controls (P = 0.04). Urine testosterone levels were significantly elevated in Tanner II-III PCOS boys compared with controls (P = 0.007). There were no significant differences in dehydroepiandrosterone levels. We validated the correlation between salivary and serum levels of insulin (insulin areas under the curve) in an adult population [n = 30, Pearson correlation coefficient (r) = 0.67; P < 0.0001], which also replicated in the children (2-h insulin r = 0.57; P = 0.0004). Mean area under the curve salivary insulin levels were significantly higher in the Tanner IV-V PCOS girls in the later stages of puberty when compared with controls (3625 ± 1372 vs. 1766 ± 621 min x μU/ml, 95% confidence interval 475-3242; P < 0.02). Conclusions: Hyperinsulinism may be a familial characteristic of PCOS children (or at least girls) but does not appear until the later stages of puberty. Other reproductive abnormalities that characterize PCOS may develop later.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1662-1669
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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