The role of testosterone on the development of hypertension is controversial, especially in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who have higher prevalence of obesity and insulin resistance than women without PCOS. Little is known about the association between serum testosterone level and blood pressure in young women with PCOS. In the 151 young Taiwanese women with PCOS enrolled in this cross-sectional study, we measured the body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, lipid profile, and hormone profiles. The free androgen index, total testosterone, and sex hormone-binding globulin, but not the level of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, significantly correlated with both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). In multiple linear regression models adjusted for age, body mass index, and other anthropometric, metabolic, and hormonal variables, the level of serum free androgen index or total testosterone, but not the sex hormone-binding globulin, were independently related to SBP and DBP. The age- and body mass index-adjusted least-square mean of serum-free androgen index levels were significantly different between the highest quartile and other quartiles of the SBP and DBP levels. The high bioavailable testosterone levels (free androgen index: >or=19%) in women with PCOS increased the risk of elevated blood pressure (SBP >or=130 mm Hg and/or DBP >or=85 mm Hg) with an odds ratio of 3.817 (P=0.029; 95% CI: 1.14 to 12.74) after adjustment for age, anthropometric measures, and metabolic profiles. Our results suggest that the characteristic hyperandrogenemia in young women with PCOS was associated with an elevated SBP and DBP independent of age, insulin resistance, obesity, or dyslipidemia.
PMID: 17389259 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]