Insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia and reproductive disorders in infertile women

Sakumoto, Tetsurou; Tokunaga, Yoshimitu; Tanaka, Hideaki; Nohara, Makoto; Motegi, Emi; Shinkawa, Tadahiko; Nakaza, Aritoshi; Higashi, Masahiro
December 2010
Reproductive Medicine & Biology;Dec2010, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p185
Academic Journal
Obesity, which disturbs lipid and glucose metabolism, is a recent medical concern. It threatens human health and also has adverse effects on reproductive functions by causing insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, especially in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). For PCOS patients to prevent these adverse effects, it is important to take into account improving their lifestyles by exercise and proper diets. The relationship between insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia and reproductive disorders should be understood as fully as possible in order to provide effective treatment. It is well known that insulin resistance and compensatory hyperinsulinemia can be triggered by obesity with visceral fat accumulation. Hyperinsulinemia affects granulosa cells in small follicles and theca cells. This condition induces early response to luteinizing hormones on granulosa cells of small follicles and causes premature differentiation of these cells, which eventually results in anovulation. For improvement of anovulation because of hyperinsulinemia, insulin-sensitizing agents (biguanide and thiazolidinedione derivatives) are useful. Hyperinsulinemia may adversely affect the endometrial functions and environment, and evoke implantation disturbance. Treatment with an insulin-sensitizing agent (metformin) improves the levels of glycodelin, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1, and blood flow in spiral arteries during the peri-implantation period. It supports endometrial function, improves the endometrial environment, and facilitates embryo implantation. The rate of early pregnancy loss during the first trimester is 30-50% in women with PCOS, which is threefold higher than for normal women. Metformin treatment improves the levels of insulin, the homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance, and plasminogen activator inhibitor activity, and decreases early pregnancy loss. It goes without saying that lifestyle change is fundamental for improving reproductive performance in addition to treatment with insulin-sensitizing agents.


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