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Inheritance of hormonal disorder marked by excessive insulin in daughters
Date:7/28/2008

Elevated levels of insulin could be an early sign that girls whose mothers suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome -- or PCOS -- may also be susceptible to the disease, according to gynecologists who have found evidence of insulin resistance in young children.

The findings could help determine whether daughters of women suffering from PCOS are at a higher risk of developing the disease, compared to girls whose mothers do not have the disease.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age, and sometimes causes inability to become pregnant. Symptoms include hairiness due to excessive amounts of male hormones, irregular periods, and insulin resistance.

"We found insulin resistance in children who had entered puberty, and whose mothers had PCOS," said Richard Legro, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Penn State College of Medicine and lead author. "We did not find it in the youngest children, which suggests that the disease is triggered by puberty."

Legro and his colleagues were interested in finding out whether metabolic and reproductive abnormalities associated with the inheritable disease, are more likely to show up in children whose mothers have PCOS, and how parents could find out whether their child was at risk.

The researchers designed a study to compare 38 children -- boys and girls aged 4 to 14 -- whose mothers had PCOS with 32 children in a control group. They specifically looked for the early onset of androgen -- male hormones -- production, and production of excess insulin.

"We collected samples of saliva and urine to analyze levels of insulin and sex steroids respectively," explained Legro. "But we also looked for gonadotropins, hormones that stimulate sex steroids and provide the earliest sign of puberty."

Results from the test indicate that older girls, but not boys, of PCOS mothers had significantly higher concentrations of sali
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Contact: Megan Manlove
mmanlove@hmc.psu.edu
717-531-8604
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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