2 in 100 Swedish boys born to mothers with PCOS were obese in childhood, compared to 1 in 100 among boys born to mothers without PCOS.
The risk was higher among sons of women with PCOS and a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25, and higher among sons of women with PCOS and who did not take metformin during pregnancy.
The researchers followed up the analysis with an RNA sequencing study, which found higher cholesterol in the sons of the Chilean women than in the PCOS controls.
In another analysis, researchers fed a group of mice a fatty, sugary diet and expressed high levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone, which mimics that of pregnant women with PCOS. Their sons were born with metabolic problems that persisted into adulthood, even though they ate a healthy diet their entire lives.
“Despite consuming a healthy diet, these male mice have more adipose tissue, larger fat cells and a disrupted basal metabolism,” says Elizabeth Stener-Victorin, a reproductive endocrinologist and metabolomist at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. lead author of the study, in a news release.
PCOS is common: according to the 2020 literature Review, which affects 20 percent of women worldwide, or 1 in 5 women. The condition, when women’s bodies produce more male hormones than usual, causing multiple ovarian cysts and infertility, excessive hair growth and irregular periods. Women with PCOS are at increased risk for diabetes, heart problems, and other conditions.
In 2019, the same research team detected Daughters of women with PCOS have five times the risk of being diagnosed with the syndrome.