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Exercise training is an effective alternative to estrogen supplementation for improving glucose homeostasis in ovariectomized rats

, : Exercise training is an effective alternative to estrogen supplementation for improving glucose homeostasis in ovariectomized rats. Physiological Reports 3(11): -

The irreversible loss of estrogen (specifically 17-β-estradiol; E2) compromises whole-body glucose tolerance in women. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is frequently prescribed to treat estrogen deficiency, but has several deleterious side effects. Exercise has been proposed as an HRT substitute, however, their relative abilities to treat glucose intolerance are unknown. Thirty ovariectomized (OVX) and 20 SHAM (control) rats underwent glucose tolerance tests (GTT) 10 weeks post surgery. Area under the curve (AUC) for OVX rats was 60% greater than SHAM controls (P = 0.0005). Rats were then randomly assigned to the following treatment groups: SHAM sedentary (sed) or exercise (ex; 60 min, 5×/weeks), OVX sed, ex, or E2 (28 μg/kg bw/day) for 4 weeks. OVX ex rats experienced a ~45% improvement in AUC relative to OVX sed rats, whereas OVX E2 underwent a partial reduction (17%; P = 0.08). Maximal insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in soleus and EDL was not impaired in OVX rats, or augmented with exercise or E2. Akt phosphorylation did not differ in soleus, EDL, or liver of any group. However, OVX ex and OVX E2 experienced greater increases in p-Akt Ser473 in VAT and SQ tissues compared with SHAM and OVX sed groups. Mitochondrial markers CS, COXIV, and core1 were increased in soleus posttraining in OVX ex rats. The content of COXIV was reduced by 52% and 61% in SQ of OVX sed and E2 rats, compared to SHAM controls, but fully restored in OVX ex rats. In summary, exercise restores glucose tolerance in OVX rats more effectively than E2. This is not reflected by alterations in muscle maximal insulin response, but increased insulin signaling in adipose depots may underlie whole-body improvements.


PMID: 26603453

DOI: 10.14814/phy2.12617

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