Prolonged treatment with N-acetylcysteine and L-arginine restores gonadal function in patients with polycistic ovary syndrome

Abstract

Nitric oxide (NO) plays a wide spectrum of biological actions including a positive role in oocyte maturation and ovulation. Free radicals levels have been shown elevated in polycistic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and therefore would be responsible for quenching NO that, in turn, would play a role in determining oligo- or amenorrhea connoting PCOS. Eight patients with PCOS displaying oligo-amenorrhea from at least 1 yr underwent a combined treatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) (1200 mg/die) plus L-arginine (ARG) (1600 mg/die) for 6 months. Menstrual function, glucose and insulin levels, and, in turn, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index were monitored. Menstrual function was at some extent restored as indicated by the number of uterine bleedings under treatment (3.00, 0.18–5.83 vs 0.00, 0.00–0.83; p<0.02). Also, a well-defined biphasic pattern in the basal body temperature suggested ovulatory cycles. The HOMA index decreased under treatment (2.12, 1.46–4.42 vs 3.48, 1.62–5.95; p<0.05). In conclusion, this preliminary, open study suggests that prolonged treatment with NAC+ARG might restore gonadal function in PCOS. This effect seems associated to an improvement in insulin sensitivity.

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Correspondence to V. Martina MD.

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Masha, A., Manieri, C., Dinatale, S. et al. Prolonged treatment with N-acetylcysteine and L-arginine restores gonadal function in patients with polycistic ovary syndrome. J Endocrinol Invest 32, 870–872 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03345763

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Keywords

  • L-arginine
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • PCOS