Hyperandrogenism May Affect Gut Microbiome Changes in PCOS

Illustration of gut microbiome
Illustration of gut microbiome
Researchers have found that lower alpha diversity is seen in women with polycystic ovary syndrome vs healthy women.

HealthDay News — Hyperandrogenism may play a role in changing the gut microbiome in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Pedro J. Torres, from San Diego State University, and colleagues investigated the gut microbiome and its potential correlation with specific clinical parameters in women with PCOS compared to healthy women.

The authors used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to analyze fecal microbial diversity profiles of 48 healthy women, 42 women with polycystic ovarian morphology (PCOM) that lacked the other diagnostic criteria of PCOS, and 73 women diagnosed with PCOS.

The researchers found that lower alpha diversity was seen in women with PCOS vs healthy women. There was a change in alpha diversity of women with PCOM that was intermediate between the other 2 groups. Regression analyses revealed a negative correlation of hyperandrogenism, total testosterone, and hirsutism with alpha diversity. Hyperandrogenism was also correlated with beta diversity when the researchers examined PERMANOVA of UniFrac distances. Healthy women and women with PCOS could be distinguished through use of Random Forest-identified bacteria.

“These results suggest that hyperandrogenism may play a critical role in altering the gut microbiome in women with PCOS,” the authors write.

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Torres PJ, Siakowska M, Banaszewska B, et al. Gut microbial diversity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome correlates with hyperandrogenism [published online January 23, 2018]. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-02153