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Early postnatal oestradiol exposure causes insulin resistance and signs of inflammation in circulation and skeletal muscle.

Journal article
Authors Camilla Alexanderson
Elias Eriksson
Elisabet Stener-Victorin
Malin Lönn
Agneta Holmäng
Published in The Journal of endocrinology
Volume 201
Issue 1
Pages 49-58
ISSN 1479-6805
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 49-58
Language en
Keywords Adipose Tissue, drug effects, metabolism, pathology, Age Factors, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Blood Circulation, drug effects, immunology, Body Weight, drug effects, Estradiol, adverse effects, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, drug effects, Glucose, metabolism, Inflammation, chemically induced, Insulin Resistance, Lipid Metabolism, drug effects, Muscle, Skeletal, drug effects, immunology, metabolism, pathology, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Vaginal Smears
Subject categories Laboratory animal science


Early postnatal events can predispose to metabolic and endocrine disease in adulthood. In this study, we evaluated the programming effects of a single early postnatal oestradiol injection on insulin sensitivity in adult female rats. We also assessed the expression of genes involved in inflammation and glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue and analysed circulating inflammation markers as possible mediators of insulin resistance. Neonatal oestradiol exposure reduced insulin sensitivity and increased plasma levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1. In skeletal muscle, oestradiol increased the expression of genes encoding complement component 3 (C3), Mcp-1, retinol binding protein-4 (Rbp4) and transforming growth factor beta1 (Tgfbeta1). C3 and MCP-1 are both related to insulin resistance, and C3, MCP-1 and TGFbeta1 are also involved in inflammation. Expression of genes encoding glucose transporter-4 (Glut 4), carnitine-palmitoyl transferase 1b (Cpt1b), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (Ppard) and uncoupling protein 3 (Ucp3), which are connected to glucose uptake, lipid oxidation, and energy uncoupling, was down regulated. Expression of several inflammatory genes in skeletal muscle correlated negatively with whole-body insulin sensitivity. In s.c. inguinal adipose tissue, expression of Tgfbeta1, Ppard and C3 was decreased, while expression of Rbp4 and Cpt1b was increased. Inguinal adipose tissue weight was increased but adipocyte size was unaltered, suggesting an increased number of adipocytes. We suggest that early neonatal oestrogen exposure may reduce insulin sensitivity by inducing chronic, low-grade systemic and skeletal muscle inflammation and disturbances of glucose and lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle in adulthood.

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