Complement protein C3 and coronary artery calcium in middle-aged women with polycystic ovary syndrome and controls. Gynecol Endocrinol 2014 Jul;30(7):511-5.


Circulating complement protein C3 (C3) levels have been associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC) in women with systemic lupus erythematosus, but have yet to be evaluated in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). We aimed to determine whether C3 levels were elevated in women with PCOS compared to controls and to quantify the association of C3 with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and CAC and if PCOS modified this association. This cross-sectional analysis included 132 women with PCOS and 155 controls, 35-62 years old, from the third visit of a case-control study. CAC was measured during the study visit, and circulating C3 was measured in stored sera. The presence of CAC and CAC categories (Agatston score 0, 1-9.9 and ≥ 10) were used for logistic and ordinal regression analysis, respectively. C3 levels were not significantly different between women with PCOS and controls. Among all women, C3 was associated with the presence of CAC and increasing CAC groups after adjusting for age, PCOS status and insulin or body mass index (BMI), all p<0.05. In addition, C3 was associated with the presence of CAC after adjusting for age, PCOS status, BMI, insulin and African American race, p=0.049. PCOS status did not modify these associations. In conclusion, circulating C3 levels may prove beneficial in identifying women at risk of CVD in women with PCOS and the general population.