Evaluation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α in adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome.J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2014 Dec; 27(6):356-9.JP
Patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often suffer from comorbidities associated with chronic inflammation characterized by elevations in pro-inflammatory cytokines. There is limited data on markers of chronic inflammation, in particular Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α), in adolescents with PCOS.
To compare serum levels of TNF-α in overweight or obese adolescents with PCOS and obese controls. In the PCOS group, to correlate serum TNF-α levels with body mass index (BMI) z-score, severity of hyperandrogenism, degree of insulin resistance, and ovarian ultrasonographic characteristics.
We performed a cross-sectional retrospective analysis of clinical and biochemical findings in 23 overweight or obese adolescent females with PCOS (mean BMI z-score 2, mean age 15.2 yrs) and 12 obese age- and sex-matched controls (mean BMI z-score 2, mean age 14.1 y). All subjects were post-menarchal. Serum TNF-α levels were compared between groups. In the PCOS group, cytokine levels were correlated with BMI z-score, androgen levels, fasting insulin and glucose levels as well as ovarian ultrasonographic features.
Both groups were comparable in age, BMI z-score, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin. Mean free testosterone was 9.76 ± 5.13 pg/mL in the PCOS group versus 5 ± 2.02 pg/mL in the control group (P = .0092). Serum TNF-α was 7.4 ± 4 pg/mL in the PCOS group versus 4.8 ± 3.16 pg/mL in the control group (P = .0468). There was no significant correlation between serum TNF-α and BMI z-score, free testosterone, fasting insulin, or fasting glucose. No correlation existed between serum TNF-α and ovarian follicle number, distribution, or volume.
Serum TNF-α is elevated in overweight/obese adolescents with PCOS. Chronic inflammation in adolescents with PCOS render them at a potential increased risk for the development of atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, cancer, infertility, and other comorbidities. Every effort should be made to identify adolescents with PCOS early and initiate aggressive therapy to prevent future complications.