Is polycystic ovary syndrome associated with high sympathetic nerve activity and size at birth?

Kristen Sparrow • April 20, 2011

This article is back up information about PCOS and high sympathetic tone. They were measuring sympathetic nerve activity to the muscle vascular bed (MSNA.) They found that the heightened MSNA may account for the higher cardiovascular risk in PCOS patients, and postulate that the higher sympathetic tone may account for many of the abnormalities encountered in PCOS. They cite one previous study that explored HRV and PCOS, which I will try to track down. I’m excerpting almost in its entirety for those who might be as interested as I am in this topic.
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Yrsa Bergmann Sverrisdo´ttir,1 Tove Mogren,1 Josefin Kataoka,1 Per Olof Janson,2
and Elisabet Stener-Victorin Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology, and 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology,Sahlgrenska Academy, Go¨teborg University, Go¨teborg, Sweden
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 294: E576–E581, 2008.

Is polycystic ovary syndrome associated with high sympathetic
nerve activity and size at birth?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine and metabolic disturbance among women ofreproductive age and is proposed to be linked with size at birth and
increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease. A disturbance in the
sympathetic nervous system may contribute to the etiology of PCOS.
This study evaluates sympathetic outflow in PCOS and its relation to
size at birth. Directly recorded sympathetic nerve activity to the
muscle vascular bed (MSNA) was obtained in 20 women with PCOS
and in 18 matched controls. Ovarian ultrasonographic evaluation,
biometric, hormonal, and biochemical parameters were measured, and
birth data were collected. Women with PCOS had increased MSNA compared with
controls. MSNA was positively related to testosterone and cholesterol levels in PCOS, which, in turn, were not related to each other. Testosterone level was a stronger predictor of MSNA than cholesterol. Birth size did not differ between the study groups. This is the first study to directly address sympathetic nerve activity in women with PCOS and shows that PCOS is associated with high MSNA. Testosterone and cholesterol levels are identified as independent predictors of MSNA in PCOS, although testosterone has a stronger impact. The increased MSNA in PCOS may contribute to the increased cardiovascular risk and etiology of the condition. In this study, PCOS was not related to size at birth.