Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 1089–1097 | Cite as

The resting metabolic rate in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and its relation to the hormonal milieu, insulin metabolism, and body fat distribution: a cohort study

  • D. RomualdiEmail author
  • V. Versace
  • V. Tagliaferri
  • S. De Cicco
  • V. Immediata
  • R. Apa
  • M. Guido
  • A. Lanzone
Original Article



To evaluate possible alterations of a major determinant of energy expenditure, the resting metabolic rate (RMR), in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compared with age-BMI similar controls. To assess whether the hormonal milieu, the body fat distribution and the insulin metabolism may affect energy consumption in these patients.


This is a monocentric observational prospective cohort study, including 109 Caucasian PCOS subjects and 31 healthy control women. (Median age PCOS 26.0 ± 9.2 years, controls 25.5 ± 8.5 years; median BMI-body mass index PCOS 26.4 ± 9.4 kg/m2, controls 27.2 ± 12.8 kg/m2). RMR was evaluated by the SenseWear Armband (SWA), a reliable and validated metabolic holter, never previously used in the PCOS population to this purpose. Hormonal assessment, insulin metabolism evaluated by HOMA-IR and OGTT, anthropometric features (BMI and WHR) were also assessed.


Median RMR resulted similar in PCOS and control women: 1520.0 ± 248.00 kcal/day vs 1464.0 ± 332.70 kcal/day (p = 0.472), even after adjusting for BMI, fat distribution, insulin metabolism parameters. RMR resulted significantly correlated with BMI, WHR, estradiol levels, SHBG, total cholesterol, triglycerides, basal glycaemia, basal insulinemia, AUC insulin 240’, and HOMA. In the subgroup of patients with WHR > 0.85, PCOS women showed a significantly lower RMR compared with controls.


The higher prevalence of obesity, which negatively influences the reproductive and general health of PCOS women, could be related to factors other than an intrinsic alteration of the RMR. Further studies are needed to clarify the possible role of the visceral fat in modulating the energy balance in PCOS.

Trial registration number Identifier NCT03132545.


Polycystic ovary syndrome Energy expenditure Resting metabolic rate SenseWear armband 



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare in relation to this manuscript.

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

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Romualdi
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • V. Versace
    • 1
  • V. Tagliaferri
    • 2
  • S. De Cicco
    • 1
  • V. Immediata
    • 1
  • R. Apa
    • 1
  • M. Guido
    • 2
  • A. Lanzone
    • 1
  1. 1.Department Of Woman And Child Health And Public HealthFondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS - Università Cattolica del Sacro CuoreRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyEnte Ecclesiastico Ospedale Generale Regionale “F. Miulli”Acquaviva delle FontiItaly
  3. 3.Department Of Woman And Child Health, Division of Obstetrics and GynecologyAzienda Ospedaliera “Cardinale Panico”TricaseItaly

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