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Effects of Chronic Estrogen Administration in the Ventromedial Nucleus of the Hypothalamus (VMH) on Fat and Bone Metabolism in Ovariectomized Rats

Research group Kalsbeek
Publication year 2016
Published in Endocrinology
Authors J. Liu, Yan Su, E. Foppen, A. Kalsbeek, Z.H. Zhang, A G Veldhuis-Vlug, B C J van der Eerden, M Koedam, N Bravenboer, A. Boelen, E. Fliers, Peter H Bisschop,

Estrogen deficiency after ovariectomy (OVX) results in increased adiposity and bone loss, which can be prevented by systemic 17-β estradiol (E2) replacement. Studies in transgenic mice suggested that in addition to direct actions of estrogen in peripheral tissues, also estrogen signaling in the hypothalamus regulates fat distribution and bone metabolism. We hypothesized that the protective effect of systemic E2 on fat and bone metabolism in the OVX model is partly mediated through the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH). To test this hypothesis, we determined the effect of systemic, central, and targeted VMH administration of E2 on fat and bone metabolism in OVX rats. Subcutaneous administration of E2 for 4 weeks decreased body weight, gonadal and perirenal fat, and bone formation rate in OVX rats. This effect was completely mimicked by intracerebroventricular injections of E2, once every 4 days for 4 weeks. Administration of E2 locally in the VMH by retromicrodialysis (3 h) acutely increased expression of the lipolytic gene hormone-sensitive lipase in gonadal and perirenal fat. Finally, chronic administration of E2 in the VMH for 8 weeks decreased perirenal fat but did not affect body weight, trabecular bone volume, or cortical thickness. In conclusion, we demonstrated that intracerebroventricular E2 replacement reduces body weight gain, ameliorates intraabdominal fat accumulation, and reduces bone formation in the OVX rats. E2 administration selectively in the VMH also reduced intraabdominal fat but did not affect bone metabolism.

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