European Journal of Endocrinology

 MANAGEMENT OF ENDOCRINE DISEASE: Polycystic ovary syndrome and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a frequent endocrine disease in women, with a number of metabolic and reproductive consequences. Obesity, insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes are prominent metabolic characteristics of PCOS and common factors affecting liver function and generating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Multiple genes involved in the synthesis of androgens, cytokines and IR, as well as acquired factors, such as endocrine disruptors, could associate the etiopathogenesis of PCOS and NAFLD. Besides the high prevalence of PCOS in general population, NAFLD was shown to be a frequent condition in transition periods, such as adolescence and menopause. Although liver biopsy is considered to be the gold standard for diagnosing liver damage, its routine use in such a prevalent condition as PCOS can be related to a higher rate of complications. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to diagnose NAFLD using simple and reliable surrogate markers. Recently, fatty liver index and NAFLD fatty liver score analyzed in large cohorts of PCOS women have been shown as accurate markers of liver damage in this metabolically vulnerable population. Lifestyle changes are still the mainstay of the management of NAFLD in PCOS, although prospective randomized controlled clinical studies remain a priority in the field. With regard to medications, metformin may be the drug of choice for treating PCOS patients with NAFLD when pharmacologic therapy is considered. Liraglutide use in obese PCOS has shown favorable effects on the predictors of liver fibrosis. In this review, we aim to summarize the influence of the common risk factors and to discuss the diagnostic approaches and management options for NAFLD in patients with PCOS.