Researchers in endocrinology and obstetrics and gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will discuss a gene that appears to play a role in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder among reproductive-age women, at upcoming meetings.
Women with PCOS have many small cysts on the periphery of the ovaries and suffer from symptoms that include menstrual irregularities, excess weight, skin problems and an excess of male-type hair growth called hirsutism. These women also are often found to have insulin resistance, a condition that allows high levels of insulin to circulate in the blood, which increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
PCOS also is associated with excessive levels of androgens -- "male" hormones that normally exist at low levels in women. The effects on androgen production by hormones secreted by fat tissue (adipokines) are being studied at Cedars-Sinai, and several researchers will present related findings at the meetings. Researchers also will present preliminary evidence that the level of androgens produced by the adrenal glands of pre-adolescent girls may serve as markers of the risk of PCOS.
Ricardo Azziz, M.D., chairman of Cedars-Sinai's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, will open the Androgen Excess Society meeting with a brief history of the study of androgen excess disorders. The Androgen Excess Society meets June 1. The Endocrine Society meeting extends from June 2 through 5. Both will be held in Toronto, Canada.
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