BACKGROUND : As a member of peroxiredoxin (PRX) family, PRX3 is predominantly located in mitochondria and plays an important role of free radical scavenging. Since a body of evidence demonstrated the involvement of PRX3 in insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, and glucose metabolism, the present study was conducted to investigate the role of PRX3 in the pathogenesis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) featured in insulin resistance. METHODS : Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed to detect plasma PRX3 in PCOS patients and control subjects. Levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidized PRXs were detected in mouse islet cells treated with gradient glucose. RESULTS : We did not find significant difference of fasting plasma PRX3 between PCOS patients and controls. No association was noticed between fasting plasma PRX3 and fasting plasma glucose or insulin. After oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), PCOS patients showed higher levels of both glucose and insulin as compared to controls. The plasma level of PRX3 was significantly increased at 2 h and began to fall back at 3 h of OGTT. There was a one-hour time lag of peak values between plasma PRX3 and insulin, and the plasma PRX3 at 2 h was positively correlated with the insulin level at 1 h of OGTT of PCOS patients. In addition, the level of ROS was significantly elevated at 1 h and oxidized PRX3 was increased dramatically at 2 h of 16.7mM glucose stimulation in mouse islet cells. CONCLUSIONS : It seems that PRX3 does not show its antioxidant function under baseline conditions. Instead, PRX3 responds to oxidative stress induced by rapid increase of insulin and glucose in patients with PCOS.