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The sympathetic nervous system in polycystic ovary syndrome: a novel therapeutic target?

Lansdown, Andrew and Rees, Dafydd Aled ORCID: 2012. The sympathetic nervous system in polycystic ovary syndrome: a novel therapeutic target? Clinical Endocrinology 77 (6) , pp. 791-801. 10.1111/cen.12003

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine condition associated with long-term health risks, including type 2 diabetes and vascular dysfunction in addition to reproductive sequelae. Many of the common features of PCOS, such as central obesity, hyperinsulinaemia and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), are associated with chronic sympathetic overactivity, suggesting that sympathoexcitation may be involved in the pathogenesis of this condition. Rodent models of polycystic ovaries have shown that ovarian sympathetic outflow may be increased, accompanied by elevated intra-ovarian synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF) which may be involved in initiation of ovarian pathology. Patients with PCOS have evidence of increased muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), altered heart rate variability and attenuated heart rate recovery postexercise, compared with age- and BMI-matched controls, suggesting a generalized increase in sympathetic nerve activity. Active weight loss can reduce MSNA and whole body noradrenaline spillover, whereas low-frequency electroacupuncture decreased MSNA in overweight women with PCOS. Treatment of OSA with continuous positive airways pressure may reduce plasma noradrenaline levels and diastolic blood pressure and improve cardiac sympathovagal balance. Renal sympathetic denervation also reduced MSNA, noradrenaline spillover and blood pressure in two PCOS subjects with hypertension, accompanied by improved insulin sensitivity. The sympathetic nervous system may thus offer a new therapeutic target in PCOS but larger and longer-term studies are needed before these treatments can be considered in clinical practice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
ISSN: 0300-0664
Last Modified: 09 May 2024 20:39

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