To evaluate the possible involvement of ovarian steroids on the opioid- mediated disorders of insulin in patients affected by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), we studied 40 PCOS women. All patients underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT; 75 g) and basal hormone assay; based on the insulin response to OGTT, 26 women were classified as hyperinsulinemic and continued the study protocol. Patients were randomly divided into three groups characterized by different treatments: group A (nine patients) was treated with GnRH analog (one ampule every 28 days for 2 months), group B (eight patients) was treated with naltrexone (an oral opioid antagonist, 50 rag/day, orally) for 8 weeks, and group C (nine patients) was treated with GnRH analog plus naltrexone for 2 months. After continuation of treatment, all patients repeated the basal study in a second hospitalization. Naltrexone treatment significantly reduced the insulin response to OGTT, whereas GnRH analogue administration did not significantly change the insulin secretion after the glucose load. The GnRH analog/naltrexone cotreatment was not able to influence the insulin secretory pattern; in fact, the insulin area under the curve was superimposable before and after therapy. These data could lead to the hypothesis that the opioidergic regulation of insulin secretion requires a normal steroidogenic pattern, thus suggesting that ovarian steroids modulate opioid activity also at peripheric districts.
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