Metformin is associated with increased insulin sensitivity, whereas oral contraceptive pills (OCP) could increase the risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Certain microRNAs (miRNAs) might serve as biomarkers for the risk of T2D. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in circulating miRNA levels during treatment with metformin and OCP in women with PCOS. Sixty-five women with PCOS according to Rotterdam criteria were randomized to metformin (2g/d), metformin+OCP (150 mg desogestrel + 30 µg ethinylestradiol) or OCP alone for 12 months. Serum miRNA analysis was performed with individual RT-qPCR or Taqman Low Density Array cards of 22 selected miRNAs previously related to PCOS, glucose and/or lipid metabolism. MiR-122 and miR-29a levels were decreased after treatment with metformin compared with metformin+OCP and OCP group: miR-122: log2 difference -0.7 (p= 0.01) and -0.7 (p= 0.02), miR-29a: log2 difference -0.5 (p= 0.01) and -0.4 (p= 0.04), while miR-223 levels were decreased in the metformin+OCP group after treatment: log2 difference -0.5 (p=0.02). During the treatment period, a significant weight loss was observed in the metformin group compared with the OCP group. In the OCP group, miRNA levels were unchanged during the treatment period. Levels of circulating miRNAs associated with lipid and glucose metabolism decreased during metformin treatment. Changes in miRNA levels in the metformin group could be explained by the simultaneous weight loss in the same group. These results support the notion that metformin treatment alone may be superior for metabolic health compared with OCP.
The author: Nanna Louise Skov Nielsen has since publication changed name to: Nanna Lond Skov Frisk