Last updated on July 2018

Evaluation of Adrenal Androgens in Normal and Obese Girls After Suppression and Stimulation


Brief description of study

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often have irregular menstrual periods, too much facial and body hair, and weight gain. Women with PCOS also have a hard time becoming pregnant. Girls with high levels of the male hormone testosterone often develop PCOS as adults. Some girls with high levels of male hormone will develop normal hormone levels as they grow up, but most girls continue to have high levels of male hormone as adults. The purpose of this study is to understand where the male and female hormones come from in girls as they get older. The investigators think the adrenal gland, makes most of the hormones in young girls and that the ovary and the adrenal gland make these hormones in older girls. The investigators would like to find out whether an overactive adrenal gland makes these hormones higher in girls who are overweight, compared to those who are not overweight.

Detailed Study Description

We propose that the adrenal gland is the predominant source of the early morning rise in progesterone and testosterone which is more marked in early puberty. Specifically, we hypothesize that dexamethasone administration at 22:00 will be associated with a dampened progesterone and testosterone rise the subsequent morning in normal girls. We also propose that the adrenal gland is the source of the excess androgen production in young obese girls, and that dexamethasone will decrease their early morning testosterone and progesterone levels. We will explore the hypothesis that functional adrenal hyperandrogenism, or ACTH hyperresponsiveness, is one mechanism underlying this excess adrenal androgen production seen in obesity.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT01421797

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John C Marshall, MD, PhD

University of Virginia Center for Research in Reproduction
Charlottesville, VA United States
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