Arteriolar insulin resistance in a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome

Levente Sara, Peter Antal, Gabriella Masszi, Anna Buday, Eszter M. Horvath, Peter Hamar, Emil Monos, Gyorgy L. Nadasy, Szabolcs Varbiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the vascular dysfunction caused by insulin resistance in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and the effectiveness of vitamin D in an animal model. Design: Controlled experimental animal study. Setting: Animal laboratory at a university research institute. Animal(s): Thirty female Wistar rats. Intervention(s): Rats were divided into groups at age 21-28 weeks. Twenty of them were subjected to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) treatment (83 μg/d); ten of them also received parallel vitamin D treatment (120 ng/100 g/wk). Oral glucose tolerance tests with insulin level measurements were performed. Gracilis arterioles were tested for their contractility as well as their nitric oxide (NO)-dependent and insulin-induced dilation using pressure arteriography. Main Outcome Measure(s): Several physiologic parameters, glucose metabolism, and pressure arteriography. Result(s): DHT treatment increased the passive diameter of resistance arterioles, lowered norepinephrine-induced contraction (30.1 ± 4.7% vs. 8.7 ± 3.6%) and reduced acetylcholine-induced (122.0 ± 2.9% vs. 48.0 ± 1.4%) and insulin-induced (at 30 mU/mL: 21.7 ± 5.3 vs. 9.8 ± 5.6%) dilation. Vitamin D treatment restored insulin relaxation and norepinephrine-induced contractility; in contrast, it failed to alter NO-dependent relaxation. Conclusion(s): In DHT-treated rats, in addition to metabolically proven insulin resistance, decreased insulin-induced vasorelaxation was observed and was improved by vitamin D treatment without affecting NO-dependent relaxation. The reduction in insulin-induced dilation of arterioles is an important as yet undescribed pathway of vascular damage in PCOS and might explain the clinical effectiveness of vitamin D treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-468
Number of pages7
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2012


  • PCOS
  • arteriole
  • vascular insulin resistance
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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