Open Access Research

Does metformin affect ovarian morphology in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome? A retrospective cross-sectional preliminary analysis

Angela Falbo1, Francesco Orio2, Roberta Venturella1, Erika Rania1, Caterina Materazzo1, Achille Tolino3, Fulvio Zullo1 and Stefano Palomba1*

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University "Magna Graecia" of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy

2 Endocrinology, University "Parthenope" of Naples, Naples, Italy

3 University "Federico II" of Naples, Naples, Italy

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Journal of Ovarian Research 2009, 2:5  doi:10.1186/1757-2215-2-5

Published: 31 May 2009



The significance of polycystic ovarian morphology and its relation to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is unclear, but probably it is associated with higher androgen and insulin levels and lower sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in absence of identifiable differences in gonadotropin dynamics. The aim of this study was to evaluate ovarian morphology in patients affected by PCOS with different ovulatory responses to metformin.


In this cross-sectional analysis, we studied 20 young normal-weight PCOS patients who had received a six-month course of metformin treatment. Ten of these patients remained anovulatory (anovulatory group), whereas other ten became ovulatory, but failed to conceive (ovulatory group). Other ten age- and body mass index (BMI)-matched PCOS subjects were also enrolled as controls and observed without any treatment (control group).


After six months of metformin, in both PCOS treated groups, a similar improvement in testosterone (T) and insulin resistance indexes was observed. Moreover, in one (10.0%) and nine (90.0%) subjects from anovulatory and ovulatory PCOS groups, respectively, ovarian morphology changed, whereas a significant reduction in ovarian dimension was observed in the PCOS ovulatory group only.


PCOS patients under metformin administration demonstrate a change in ovarian morphology closely related to ovulatory response.