Causal relationship between polycystic ovary syndrome and coronary artery disease: A Mendelian randomisation study

P.I.H.G. Simons, M.E.B. Cornelissen, O. Valkenburg, N.C. Onland-Moret, Y.T. van der Schouw, C.D.A. Stehouwer, S. Burgess, M.C.G.J. Brouwers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). However, it remains uncertain whether this increased risk is the result of PCOS per se or, alternatively, is explained by obesity, a common feature of PCOS. The aim of this study was to assess the causal association between PCOS and CAD and the role of obesity herein. Design and Methods We conducted two-sample Mendelian randomisation analyses in large-scale, female-specific datasets to study the association between genetically predicted (1) risk of PCOS and risk of CAD, (2) body mass index (BMI) and risk of PCOS and (3) BMI and risk of CAD. Primary analyses were conducted with the inverse-variance weighted (IVW) method. Simple median, penalized weighted median and contamination mixture analyses were performed to assess the robustness of the outcomes. Results IVW analyses did not show a statistically significant association between PCOS and CAD (odds ratio [OR]: 0.99, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.89, 1.11). In contrast, genetically predicted BMI was statistically significantly associated with an increased odds of PCOS (OR: 3.21, 95% CI: 2.26, 4.56) and CAD (OR: 1.38, 95% CI: 1.14, 1.67). Similar results were obtained when secondary analyses were performed. Conclusion These sex-specific analyses show that the genetically predicted risk of PCOS is not associated with the risk of CAD. Instead, the genetically predicted risk of obesity (and its downstream metabolic effects) is the common denominator of both PCOS and CAD risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-604
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number4
Early online date15 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • coronary artery disease
  • Mendelian randomisation
  • obesity
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • RISK

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