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Adipocyte. 2014 Apr 1;3(2):151-4. doi: 10.4161/adip.27746. Epub 2014 Jan 21.

Developmental androgenization programs metabolic dysfunction in adult mice: Clinical implications.

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Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism; Department of Medicine; Tulane University Health Sciences Center; School of Medicine; New Orleans, LA USA.


Emerging evidence supports a developmental origin for the metabolic syndrome in the context of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in which the fetal environment programs both reproductive and metabolic abnormalities that will occur in adulthood. To explore the role of developmental androgen excess in programming metabolic dysfunction in adulthood, we reported a mouse model system in which neonates were androgenized with testosterone. We compared female mice with neonatal exposure to testosterone (NTF) with control females (CF), control males (CM), and male mice with neonatal testosterone exposure (NTM). NTF develop many of the features of metabolic syndrome observed in women with PCOS. These features include increased food intake and lean mass, visceral adiposity with enlarged adipocytes, hypoadiponectinemia, decreased osteocalcin activity, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and hypertension. NTF also develop a novel form of leptin resistance independent of STAT3. In contrast, littermate NTM develop a phenotype of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism with decreased lean mass and food intake. These NTM mice exhibit subcutaneous adiposity without cardiometabolic alterations. We discuss the relevance of this mouse model of developmental androgenization to the metabolic syndrome and its clinical implications to human metabolic diseases.


adipose tissue dysfunction; androgen excess; development; metabolic syndrome; obesity

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