Background Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common female reproductive-age endocrine disease predominantly characterized by chronic anovulation, hyperandrogenism, insulinresistance and low-grade inflammatory status. Exercise training (ET) favourably modulates cardiopulmonary function and insulinsensitivity markers in PCOS women. The present study investigated the effects of ET on autonomic function and inflammatory pattern in PCOS women. Study design Prospective baseline uncontrolled clinical study. Methods One-hundred and eighty five PCOS women referred to our department were screened for the inclusion into the study protocol from March 2004 to July 2007. One-hundred and twenty four PCOS women met the criteria for the inclusion into the study protocol and were subdivided into two groups each composed of 62 patients: PCOS-T (trained) group underwent 3-month ET program, whereas PCOS-UnT (untrained) group did not. At baseline and at 3-month follow-up, hormonal and metabolic profile, cardiopulmonary parameters, autonomic function (as expressed by heart rate recovery, HRR) and inflammatory pattern [as expressed by C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cells (WBCs) count] were evaluated. Results PCOS-T showed a significant ( P < 0·05) improvement in maximal oxygen consumption (VO 2max ) and in post-exercise HRR, and a significant ( P < 0·001) decrease in CRP and WBCs; whereas no statistically significant changes of the same parameters were observed in PCOS-UnT. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that 3-month HRR is linearly related to the inclusion in traininggroup ( β = 0·316, P < 0·001), VO 2max ( β = 0·151, P = 0·032) and the ratio between glucose and insulin area under curve (AUC) ( β = 0·207, P = 0·003), and inversely related to body mass index ( β = –0·146, P = 0·046), insulin AUC ( β = –0·152, P = 0·032), CRP ( β = –0·165, P < 0·021), and WBCs count ( β = –0·175, P = 0·039). Conclusions Exercise training improves autonomic function and inflammatory pattern in PCOS women.
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