ABSTRACT: It is well established that estradiol (E2) decreases food intake and body weight in young female rats. However, it is not clear if female rats retain responsiveness to the anorexigenic effect of E2 during middle age. Because middle-aged females exhibit reduced responsiveness to E2, manifesting as a delayed and attenuated luteinizing hormone surge, it is plausible that middle-aged rats are less responsive to the anorexigenic effect of E2. To test this we monitored food intake in ovariohysterectomized young and middle-aged rats following E2 treatment. E2 decreased food intake and body weight to a similar degree in both young and middle-aged rats. Next, we investigated whether genes that mediate the estrogenic inhibition of food intake are similarly responsive to E2 by measuring gene expression of the anorexigenic genes corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), proopiomelanocortin (POMC), the long form of the leptin receptor (Lepr) and serotonin 2C receptors (5HT2CR) and the orexigenic genes agouti-related peptide (AgRP), neuropeptide Y (NPY), prepromelanin-concentrating hormone (pMCH) and orexin in the hypothalamus of young and middle-aged OVX rats treated with E2. As expected, E2 increased expression of all anorexigenic genes while decreasing expression of all orexigenic genes in young rats. Although CRH, 5HT2CR, Lepr, AgRP, NPY and orexin were also sensitive to E2 treatment in middle-aged rats, POMC and pMCH expression were not influenced by E2 in middle-aged rats. These data demonstrate that young and middle-aged rats are similarly sensitive to the anorexigenic effect of E2 and that most, but not all feeding-related genes retain sensitivity to E2.
Behavioural brain research 04/2012; 232(1):159-64. · 3.22 Impact Factor