Background: Insulin resistance (IR) and central obesity are common in PCOS, but pathomechanisms for IR in PCOS are not established. Circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) are non-invasive biomarkers of tissue gene expression that may contribute to the pathogenesis of IR and central adiposity in PCOS.

Methods: We conducted a pilot study to examine associations of circulating miRNAs with IR and central adiposity among women with PCOS (n=11) using high-throughput miRNA sequencing. We fit generalized linear models examining associations of waist circumference and HOMA-IR with plasma miRNAs. We used false discovery rate (FDR) -adjusted cutoff p<0.1 to adjust for multiple testing. We used the miRDB’s Gene Ontology (GO) tool to identify predicted pathways for top hits.

Results: Participants were 27.9 years old on average with mean BMI 32.5 kg/m2. At an FDR<0.1, lower levels of miR-1294 were associated with higher waist circumference (β = -0.10, FDR=0.095) . While no miRNAs were associated with HOMA-IR at our predetermined cut off, 11 miRNAs were associated with waist circumference and 14 miRNAs with HOMA-IR at p<0.01 (Table 1) . Pathways identified in the GO analysis of miR-1294 include “negative regulation of insulin receptor signaling” (p=0.019) .

Conclusions: Plasma miRNAs may be associated with IR and central obesity among PCOS patients.


P. Wander: None. D. Enquobahrie: None. T. Bammler: None. J. Macdonald: None. S. Srinouanprachanh: None. T. Kaleru: None. D. Khakpour: None. S. Trikudanathan: Research Support; Bionic pancreas, Bionic pancreas, Insulet Corporation, Insulet Corporation.


NIDDK (K08103945)

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at