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New study investigates impact of maternal PCOS on biomarkers and metabolic factors in young adolescents

A new study at Marshall University led by Jennie Yoost, M.D., M.Sc., aims to shed light on the intricate relationship between maternal polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and its potential impact on biomarkers and metabolic factors in young adolescent girls.

PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Yoost, an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and the only fellowship-trained pediatric and adolescent gynecologist in West Virginia, has teamed with Holly Cyphert, Ph.D., associate professor of Biological Sciences in Marshall’s College of Science, to determine how maternal PCOS may influence the metabolic health of young girls during puberty.

Yoost emphasized the challenges of diagnosing PCOS during adolescence, citing the complexity of hormonal and metabolic changes.

“While acknowledging a potential hereditary connection in some families, the exact onset of PCOS remains unclear,” Yoost said. “Through this study, we aim to assess young girls with a first-degree family history of PCOS in order to help guide future diagnoses and monitoring of this at-risk population.”

Funded by a grant from the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute, this prospective study seeks to compare and analyze androgens, ovarian function markers, metabolic factors such as insulin and lipid levels, and specific bile acids as biomarkers among adolescents before their first menstrual period. If present, the biomarkers may indicate risk of disease. The study will involve evaluation of females ages 8 to 13, including their medical history, timing of pubertal changes and laboratory tests.  Participants will be compensated for their involvement in the study.

“There is an interplay between PCOS, insulin resistance and familial inheritance patterns,” Cyphert said. “This study is innovative in that it involves assessment of bile acids as biomarkers for disease. Dr. Yoost and I previously published that bile acids are elevated among older adolescent PCOS patients. We hope to demonstrate that bile acids may also serve as biomarkers in early puberty.”

The findings from this study have the potential to inform early detection and intervention strategies for PCOS, ultimately improving the long-term health outcomes of affected individuals.

Marshall is now accepting patients for this study. For more information about the study or to refer a patient, please contact Research Coordinator, Morgan Ruley, at 304-691-1458 or or visit

Study 2138727 was approved by the Marshall University Institutional Review Board #1 on 1-22-24. This study is funded by WVCSTI through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 2U54GM104942. 


About the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine is a community-based medical school established in 1977. Located in Huntington, West Virginia, the School of Medicine trains physicians, scientists and other professionals to meet the unique health care needs of rural and underserved communities. Learn more at


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Michele McKnight
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Marshall Health/Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine