In women, a relative hyperandrogenicity is statistically associated with insulin resistance and centralization of body fat, which are predictors for the development of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of androgenization of newborn female rats on insulin sensitivity at adult age. To mimic the neonatal androgen peak normally observed in male rats, female pups were administered one high dose of testosterone (T) subcutaneously within 3 h after birth. They were then given back to their mothers and followed to adult age. At the end of the week 9, tail samples were taken, showing no differences in fasting plasma concentrations of glucose, lactate, insulin, or free fatty acids between T-treated rats and controls. Plasma concentrations of T and progesterone were significantly lower in the T-treated rats, whereas no differences were found in the levels of corticosterone, estradiol, insulin-like growth factor I, or ACTH. After 10 wk, insulin sensitivity was studied with hyperglycemic and euglycemic hyperinsulinemic (5 mU insulin/kg/min) clamp techniques. The T-treated rats showed insulin resistance with both techniques, which was overcome with time and increasing insulin concentrations during the clamp measurements. The T-treated rats were also heavier and had increased relative weights of skeletal muscles and the spleen. Parametrial, retroperitoneal, and inguinal adipose tissues decreased in weight while mesenteric adipose tissue tended to increase, resulting in an approximately 30-50% larger mesenteric than other adipose tissues. It is concluded that neonatal T imprinting of female rats is followed by insulin resistance, changes in adipose tissue distribution, and an enlarged lean mass, without elevation of circulating T. Similar changes are seen in adult female rats or women receiving T.


C Nilsson, M Niklasson, E Eriksson, P Björntorp, A Holmäng


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