Metabolic flexibility in postmenopausal women: Hormone replacement therapy is associated with higher mitochondrial content, respiratory capacity, and lower total fat mass

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Aim: To investigate effects of hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women on factors associated with metabolic flexibility related to whole-body parameters including fat oxidation, resting energy expenditure, body composition and plasma concentrations of fatty acids, glucose, insulin, cortisol, and lipids, and for the mitochondrial level, including mitochondrial content, respiratory capacity, efficiency, and hydrogen peroxide emission. Methods: 22 postmenopausal women were included. 11 were undergoing estradiol and progestin treatment (HT), and 11 were matched non-treated controls (CONT). Peak oxygen consumption, maximal fat oxidation, glycated hemoglobin, body composition, and resting energy expenditure were measured. Blood samples were collected at rest and during 45 min of ergometer exercise (65% VO2peak). Muscle biopsies were obtained at rest and immediately post-exercise. Mitochondrial respiratory capacity, efficiency, and hydrogen peroxide emission in permeabilized fibers and isolated mitochondria were measured, and citrate synthase (CS) and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HAD) activity were assessed. Results: HT showed higher absolute mitochondrial respiratory capacity and post-exercise hydrogen peroxide emission in permeabilized fibers and higher CS and HAD activities. All respiration normalized to CS activity showed no significant group differences in permeabilized fibers or isolated mitochondria. There were no differences in resting energy expenditure, maximal, and resting fat oxidation or plasma markers. HT had significantly lower visceral and total fat mass compared to CONT. Conclusion: Use of hormone therapy is associated with higher mitochondrial content and respiratory capacity and a lower visceral and total fat mass. Resting energy expenditure and fat oxidation did not differ between HT and CONT.

TidsskriftActa Physiologica
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledges funding from Helsefonden and the Nordea Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Acta Physiologica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Scandinavian Physiological Society.

ID: 385573822