Relationship between surrogate estimates and direct measurement of insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

  • M. H. DahanEmail author
  • F. Abbasi
  • G. Reaven
Original Article



To evaluate the relationship between surrogate estimates of insulin resistance and a direct measurement of insulin-mediated glucose uptake women with and without PCOS.


Retrospective cohort study of 75 PCOS and 118 controls. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin concentrations, insulin resistance as determined by the insulin suppression test, calculation of multiple surrogate estimates of insulin resistance, total and free testosterone concentrations, and correlations between the direct measure and surrogate estimates of insulin resistance were evaluated.


Surrogate markers of insulin resistance were correlated to a variable, but statistically significant degree with the direct measure of insulin resistance in control population and the women with PCOS. There was no correlation between the surrogate estimates of insulin resistance and total or free plasma testosterone concentrations.


The surrogate estimates of insulin resistance evaluated were significantly related to a direct measure of insulin resistance, and this was true of both the control population and women with PCOS. The magnitude of the relationship between the surrogate estimates and the direct measurement was comparable and not significantly altered by androgen levels. Fasting plasma insulin concentration seems to be at least as accurate as any other surrogate estimate, and is by far the simplest.


PCOS Insulin resistance QUICKI HOMA-IR Insulin suppression test 



Women’s Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Scholars program, NIH through the NICHD, Grant number: U54 HD031398.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Drs. Dahan, Abassi and Reaven have no conflicts of interest to report.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

All subjects provided written consent to participate in the study and for analysis of their results and data.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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