Postnatal testosterone exposure results in insulin resistance, enlarged mesenteric adipocytes, and an atherogenic lipid profile in adult female rats: comparisons with estradiol and dihydrotestosterone.
Journal article, 2007
Postnatal events contribute to features of the metabolic syndrome in adulthood. In this study, postnatally administered testosterone reduced insulin sensitivity and increased the mesenteric fat depot, the size of mesenteric adipocytes, serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, and the atherogenic index in adult female rats. To assess the involvement of estrogen and androgen receptors in these programming effects, we compared testosterone-exposed rats to rats exposed to estradiol or dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Estradiol-treated rats had lower insulin sensitivity than testosterone-treated rats and, like those rats, had enlarged mesenteric adipocytes and increased triglyceride levels. DHT also reduced insulin sensitivity but did not mimic the other metabolic effects of testosterone. All treated rats were probably anovulatory, but only those treated with testosterone had reduced testosterone levels. This study confirms our previous finding that postnatal administration of testosterone reduces insulin sensitivity in adult female rats and shows that this effect is accompanied by unfavorable changes in mesenteric fat tissue and in serum lipid levels. The findings in the estradiol and DHT groups suggest that estrogen receptors exert stronger metabolic programming effects than androgen receptors. Thus, insults such as sex hormone exposure in early life may have long-lasting effects, thereby creating a predisposition to disturbances in insulin sensitivity, adipose tissue, and lipid profile in adulthood.