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Steroids. 2011 Sep-Oct;76(10-11):1051-6. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2011.04.009. Epub 2011 Apr 22.

Effects of ovariectomy and 17-β estradiol replacement on rat brown adipose tissue mitochondrial function.

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Grup de Metabolisme Energètic i Nutrició, Departament de Biologia Fonamental i Ciències de la Salut, Institut Universitari d'Investigació en Ciències de la Salut (IUNICS), Universitat de les Illes Balears, Cra. Valldemossa km 7.5, E-07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.


Taking into account the sexual dimorphism previously reported regarding mitochondrial function and biogenesis in brown adipose tissue, the aim of the present study was to go further into these differences by investigating the effect of ovariectomy and 17-β estradiol (E2) replacement on brown adipose tissue mitochondrial function. In this study, fourteen-week-old control female and ovariectomized female Wistar rats were used. Rats were ovariectomized at 5 weeks of age and were treated every 2 days with placebo (OVX group) or E2 (10 μg/kg) (OVX+E2 group) for 4 weeks before sacrifice. We studied the levels of oxidative capacity, antioxidant defence and oxidative damage markers in brown adipose tissue. Moreover, the levels of key elements of mitochondrial biogenesis as well as UCP1 protein levels, as an index of mitochondrial thermogenic capacity, were also determined. In response to ovariectomy, mitochondrial proliferation increased, resulting in less functional mitochondria, since oxidative capacity and antioxidant defences decreased. Although E2 supplementation was able to restore the serum levels of E2 shown by control rats, the treatment reverted the effects of the ovariectomy only in part, and oxidative and antioxidant capacities in OVX+E2 rats did not reach the levels shown by control females. Taking these results into account, we suggest that ovarian hormones are responsible, at least in part, for the sexual dimorphism in BAT mitochondrial function. However, other signals produced by ovary, rather than E2, would play an important role in the control of mitochondrial function in BAT.

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