, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 91–100 | Cite as

White blood cells levels and PCOS: direct and indirect relationship with obesity and insulin resistance, but not with hyperandogenemia

  • Olga Papalou
  • Sarantis Livadas
  • Athanasios Karachalios
  • Nikoleta Tolia
  • Panayiotis Kokkoris
  • Konstantinos Tripolitakis
  • Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis
Research paper


OBJECTIVE: To study white blood cells count (WBC) in women suffering from PCOS and compare these results with age and BMI-matched healthy women. The specific aim of this study was to assess the possible correlations of WBC with the major components of PCOS, obesity, insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism. DESIGN: Anthropometrical, metabolic and hormonal data were analyzed from 203 women with PCOS (NIH criteria) and 76 age-matched controls. RESULTS: In the total population studied (N=279), WBC was significantly higher (P=0.003) in the PCOS group compared with age-matched healthy women and was positively correlated with BMI (r=0.461, p<0.001), total testosterone (r= 0.210, p<0.001), insulin (r=0.271, p<.001), triglycerides (r=0.285, p<.001), HOMA score (r=0.206, p=0.001), FAI (r=0.329, p<0.001) and negatively correlated with SHBG (r=−0.300, p<.001) and HDL (r=−0.222, p<0.001). Due to the fact that WHR was only available in the group of PCOS women, the role of central adiposity is assessed only in this group. Multiple regression analysis in the PCOS group, including WHR, revealed BMI, SHBG and TGL as the main predicting factors of WBC. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was also conducted and overweight/obesity was the sole independent risk factor for elevated WBC (higher tertile) (OR:0.907 CI:0.85–0.96, p=0.002). After dividing the sample based on BMI in the lean subgroups, WBC did not differ significantly between PCOS and controls, while multiple regression analysis indicated SHBG as the main predicting factor of WBC. Finally, we picked out the group of overweight/obese (BMI ≥25 kg/m2) women with PCOS and conducted another classification based on HOMA score (HOMA-IR≤2: insulin-sensitive women, HOMA-IR>2: insulin-resistant women) in the group of overweight and obese women with PCOS separately. In overweight women with PCOS, WBC, although higher in the group of insulin-resistant, did not differ significantly between the two groups, while in the subcategory of overweight women WBC was significantly (p=0.02) higher in the group of insulin-resistant women (HOMA-IR >2). CONCLUSIONS: Chronic low-grade inflammation and increased white cell count do occur in PCOS. Obesity and insulin resistance are the two leading parameters that act accumulatively in the development of leucocytosis, whereas hyperandrogenism does not seem to affect it.

Key words

Inflammation Insulin resistance Obesity Polycystic ovary syndrome White blood cells 


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Copyright information

© Hellenic Endocrine Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga Papalou
    • 1
  • Sarantis Livadas
    • 1
  • Athanasios Karachalios
    • 1
  • Nikoleta Tolia
    • 1
  • Panayiotis Kokkoris
    • 2
  • Konstantinos Tripolitakis
    • 2
  • Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Endocrine Unit, Third Department of Internal Medicine, Medical SchoolNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Endocrinology & Diabetes251 Hellenic Air Force & VA General HospitalAthensGreece

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