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Chicago, Illinois 60637


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 5-10% of women in the United States. Its onset is usually at the time of puberty with manifestations of menstrual irregularity, hirsutism, and obesity. Women with PCOS suffer at an early stage of adulthood from all of the components of the metabolic syndrome, a syndrome that typically has its peak in mid-life in other subject populations. Women with PCOS are more insulin resistant than weight-matched control women and have exceptionally high rates of early-onset impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes, as well as a substantially elevated risk for hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary, and other vascular diseases. While recent evidence indicates that the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is 30-40 fold higher in PCOS than in weight-matched control women, the possible role of SDB in causing the increased metabolic and cardiovascular risks of PCOS has not been evaluated. The overall objective of the proposed study is to analyze the direction of causality between sleep disturbances and markers of the metabolic syndrome in PCOS.

Study summary:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 5-10% of women and may be viewed as the combination of hyperandrogenism with the classical features of the metabolic syndrome in young women. PCOS presents a unique opportunity to dissect the relationship between metabolic and cardiovascular risk and sleep disordered breathing (SDB) in a population where intrinsic effects of aging have not yet developed. Because a relationship between obstructive sleep apnea, insulin resistance and elevated testosterone levels has also been observed in men and in women without PCOS, insights gained from studies in PCOS will have broad implications. The Specific Aims of the present application are: Specific Aim 1: to test the hypothesis that sleep disturbances are caused by hyperandrogenemia and hyperinsulinemia that characterize PCOS. Following a detailed baseline evaluation of sleep, hormonal, metabolic and cardiovascular parameters, women with PCOS will be randomized to an 8-week treatment phase with pioglitazone or depot leuprolide plus estrogen/progestin replacement or placebo. Pioglitazone will reduce insulin levels, and consequently androgen levels, in PCOS. We will compare the effects of androgen reduction alone (depot leuprolide plus estrogen/progestin) to those of insulin plus androgen reduction achieved with pioglitazone. Primary comparisons will be the change in sleep parameters from baseline between: placebo & pioglitazone; placebo & leuprolide/estrogen/progestin; pioglitazone & leuprolide/estrogen/progestin. Specific Aim 2: to test the hypothesis that sleep disturbances cause the hormonal, metabolic and cardiovascular alterations seen in women with PCOS. PCOS women with SDB and matched control women with SDB will be evaluated at baseline and following 8 weeks of CPAP treatment. The primary comparison will be between baseline and post-treatment parameters in PCOS women. The secondary comparison will be the post-treatment change from baseline between PCOS and control women to test the hypothesis that for the same degree in improvement in SDB, the magnitude of change in metabolic and cardiovascular measures will be greater in PCOS than in controls. Specific Aim 3: to test the hypothesis that in normal young women, experimental manipulation of sleep that recapitulates the sleep disturbances characteristic of women with PCOS will result in metabolic, hormonal, and cardiovascular alterations that are typical of the metabolic syndrome. A group of healthy young women will be studied twice using a randomized cross-over design. In one study, REM sleep will be fragmented by experimentally induced microarousals for 3 consecutive nights and non-REM sleep will be left undisturbed. In the other, slow wave activity will be suppressed without awakening the subject and REM sleep will be left undisturbed. Each study will be preceded by 2 nights of baseline sleep.


Inclusion Criteria: - PCOS subjects will be recruited from the Endocrinology Clinics of the University of Chicago. All will be at least 2 years postmenarche and less than 40 years of age. A diagnosis of PCOS will require: - the presence of oligo/amenorrhea; - hyperandrogenemia, defined by a supranormal plasma free testosterone level (> 10 pg/ml); - hyperandrogenism, as evidenced by infertility, hirsutism, acne, or androgenetic alopecia; and - exclusion of nonclassic 21-hydroxylase deficiency congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism, or significant elevations in serum prolactin. Thus, all subjects will meet the National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus criteria for PCOS. - Control subjects will be matched, as closely as possible, for age, ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), and body fat distribution (as assessed by single cut abdominal computed tomography [CT] scan and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry [DEXA] scan). - Normal lean (BMI <25 kg/m2) women will be between 18 and 40 years of age, in good health, with normal menstrual cycles, no sleep complaints, no history of endocrine disorder. All studies will be initiated in the early follicular phase (days 2-4). - For at least 2 months before the study, all subjects (PCOS and control) must not take steroid preparations (including oral contraceptives), medications known to alter insulin secretion and/or action, or medications known to influence sleep.



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
David A Ehrmann, M.D.
University of Chicago

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Chicago, Illinois 60637
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: October 09, 2019

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