Improved PCOS symptoms correlate with gut bacterial composition

March 23, 2019

NEW ORLEANS--Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) improved with exposure to healthy bacteria in the gut, according to a study in a mouse model of this common women's endocrine disorder. The study results will be presented Monday at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

This study builds on recent research by the same investigators showing that the human gut microbiome, or gut bacterial composition, is less diverse in women with PCOS.

"Our new results suggest that altering the gut microbiome via prebiotic or probiotic therapies may be a potential treatment option for PCOS," said the study's senior investigator, Varykina Thackray, Ph.D., with the University of California San Diego School of Medicine in La Jolla, Calif.

PCOS affects about 10 percent of women of childbearing age, and the exact causes are unknown, according to the Hormone Health Network. It has no cure, but symptoms are treated with medications and changes in diet and exercise. Signs of the disorder include cystic follicles in the ovaries, higher levels of testosterone, excess body hair, irregular or no menstrual periods, and sometimes weight gain and insulin resistance. Possible long-term health consequences include infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy complications, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and depression.

Thackray and her research team induced PCOS in female mice that were going through puberty by giving them letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor. By blocking the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, this drug results in elevated testosterone levels and in mice results in other hallmarks of PCOS as well. Another control group of mice received treatment with a placebo in this study, which received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

For five weeks the researchers kept two mice per cage in three different housing arrangements: PCOS mice together, placebo-treated mice together and mice from both treatment groups together. Co-housing results in exposure to each other's gut microbiome, Thackray explained.

PCOS mice that lived with placebo-treated mice had substantially improved testosterone levels, normalized cycles and ovulation compared to PCOS mice housed with each other, the investigators reported. In addition, PCOS mice housed with placebo mice had decreased weight, lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, and less insulin resistance (a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes).

Importantly, Thackray said these improvements in PCOS features were linked to changes in the gut microbiome. "Additional research is needed to understand how specific gut bacteria contribute to PCOS and whether the gut microbiome offers potential avenues for treating the condition," Thackray said.
-end-
Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.

The Society has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at http://www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at @TheEndoSociety and @EndoMedia.

The Endocrine Society

Related Testosterone Articles from Brightsurf:

ACP issues guideline for testosterone treatment in adult men with age-related low testosterone
Physicians should prescribe testosterone for men with age-related low testosterone only to treat sexual dysfunction, the American College of Physicians (ACP) says in a new evidence-based clinical practice guideline.

Women with asthma appear more likely to have lower levels of testosterone
Women with asthma appear more likely to have lower levels of 'free' (not attached to proteins) testosterone than women who do not have asthma, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Penis development needs more than just testes and testosterone
Proper development of the fetal penis requires not just testosterone from the testes, but a second hormone produced by other tissues, including the placenta, according to a new study publishing Feb.

Testosterone treatment over 10 years can improve or reverse type 2 diabetes in men with low testosterone, and induce significant weight loss
New research presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) reveals that in men with low testosterone who have type 2 diabetes (T2D), testosterone therapy can improve their disease and reverse its progress, and can also induce significant weight loss.

Testosterone replacement therapy may slow the progression of COPD
GALVESTON, Texas -- Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that testosterone replacement therapy may slow disease progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Testosterone research brings new hope for cancer patients
Approximately 20 percent of cancer related deaths are attributed to the syndrome of cachexia.

Testosterone prescriptions have sharply dropped in the past few years
Testosterone use in the United States tripled between 2001 and 2011, mostly in men without a clear indication for it.

Use of prescribed testosterone therapy in US decreases in recent years
Testosterone use in the United States tripled from 2001 through 2011, mostly in men without a clear indication.

Testosterone causes men to desire luxury goods
Researchers examine testosterone's effect on men's desire for goods that are considered to have social cachet.

Men's testosterone levels largely determined by where they grow up
Men's testosterone levels are largely determined by their environment during childhood, according to new research.

Read More: Testosterone News and Testosterone Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.