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Summary

Objective  The aim of the present study was to determine if the favourable cardiopulmonary and metabolic benefits induced by exercise training (ET) programme are maintained after its cessation.

Patients  Thirty-two young overweight polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) women matched for age and body mass index (BMI) with other 32 PCOS patients was enrolled. The first group [PCOS-T (trained)] underwent 24-week ET programme, whereas the second [PCOS-DT (detrained)] underwent 12-week ET programme followed by 12-week detraining period.

Methods  At baseline, after 12- and 24-week follow-up, all PCOS women were studied for their hormonal (ovarian and adrenal androgens), metabolic (glucose and insulin) and lipid profile, and underwent cardiopulmonary exercise test.

Results  After the initial 12-week ET programme, both PCOS-T and PCOS-DT groups, without differences between groups, showed a similar significant (P < 0·05) improvement in BMI, fasting insulin, areas under curve insulin (AUCINS), glucose and insulin AUC (AUCGLU/INS), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and maximal oxygen consumption at cardiopulmonary exercise test (VO2max). At 24-week follow-up, PCOS-T group showed a significant (P < 0·05) improvement in BMI, fasting insulin, AUCINS, AUCGLU/INS, LDL-C, HDL-C and VO2max, in comparison to baseline and 12-week follow-up. At same follow-up visit, the all parameters resulted significantly (P < 0·05) worsened in PCOS-DT group in comparison to 12-week follow-up and PCOS-T group. In PCOS-DT group, no parameter assessed at 24-week follow-up was significantly different in comparison with baseline.

Conclusion  In young PCOS women, 12-week detraining resulted in a complete loss of the favourable adaptations obtained after ET.