New research from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet has found that sons born to women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at a three times greater risk of developing obesity compared to sons born to women without PCOS. The study revealed a previously unknown risk of transmitting PCOS-related health issues across generations through the male side of a family.
The study published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine utilized registry data and mouse models to investigate the transmission of PCOS-like traits from mothers to sons. It involved examining male offspring of mice that were fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet and exposed to high levels of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone during pregnancy to mimic the pregnancy of women with PCOS. These findings suggest that maternal PCOS could have a lasting impact on the metabolic health of male offspring and highlight the importance of early interventions to reduce the risk of obesity and related health problems.
The study included over 460,000 sons born in Sweden between July 2006 and December 2015, with around 9,000 of these being sons of women with PCOS. The researchers examined which children were obese. Elisabet Stener-Victorin, a professor at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, who led the study published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, revealed that "our findings showed that sons of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a three times higher risk of developing obesity and elevated levels of "bad" cholesterol which in turn increase their risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in the future."
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