Distinguishing characteristics of metabolically healthy versus metabolically unhealthy obese adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome

Joon Young Kim, Hala Tfayli, Sara F. Michaliszyn, Sojung Lee, Silva Arslanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective To investigate the key physical, metabolic, hormonal and cardiovascular characteristics of metabolically healthy obese (MHO) versus unhealthy obese (MUHO) girls with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Research center. Patient(s) Seventy obese girls with PCOS were divided into 19 MHO and 51 MUHO based on cutoff points for in vivo insulin sensitivity (within and < 2 SDs of the mean of the insulin sensitivity of the normal-weight girls, respectively). Intervention(s) None. Main Outcome Measure(s) Body composition, abdominal fat, in vivo insulin sensitivity and secretion (hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic and hyperglycemic clamps respectively), hormonal profile, and cardiovascular disease risk markers. Result(s) MUHO-PCOS girls had higher waist circumference, visceral adipose tissue, leptin, and free testosterone, lower SHBG and E2, higher non–high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and atherogenic lipoprotein particle concentrations, smaller HDL particle size, and higher high-sensitivity C-reactive protein compared with MHO-PCOS girls. Hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity were lower with higher first- and second-phase insulin secretion, but β-cell function relative to insulin sensitivity was lower in MUHO versus MHO. Pair matching of MHO and MUHO regarding age and body mass index revealed similar findings. MUHO-PCOS girls had larger visceral adiposity, lower insulin sensitivity and β-cell function, worse hormonal profile, and severely atherogenic lipoprotein concentrations compared with MHO-PCOS girls. Conclusion(s) MHO-PCOS girls have favorable physical, metabolic, hormonal, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) characteristics and lower risk biomarkers for type 2 diabetes compared with their MUHO-PCOS peers. A greater understanding of the contrast in this risk phenotype in obese girls with PCOS may have important implications for therapeutic interventions, their outcomes, and their durability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1603-1611
Number of pages9
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • PCOS
  • metabolic risk
  • obese adolescents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Distinguishing characteristics of metabolically healthy versus metabolically unhealthy obese adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this