University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 10% of all women and causes irregular menstrual cycles and difficulties when trying to conceive. Increased levels of male hormones in the blood, also termed androgens, are found in the majority of women with PCOS, who also have an increased risk of metabolic disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. We have found evidence that adipose tissue in women with PCOS overproduces androgens, resulting in a build-up of toxic fat in the blood, which could cause liver damage. We also found that women with PCOS have an increased risk of fatty liver disease, the second most common cause of liver transplantation.
We will study the mechanisms underlying the adverse metabolic effects of androgens in PCOS and test whether blocking androgen production with a new drug improves metabolic function in women with PCOS.
Our overall aim is to develop new tailor-made approaches to treating and preventing metabolic complications in PCOS.