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15 July 2009 Androgen Receptor Antagonism and an Insulin Sensitizer Block the Advancement of Vaginal Opening by High-Fat Diet in Mice
Diana S. Brill, Suzanne M. Moenter
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Reduced hypothalamic sensitivity to steroid negative feedback may contribute to the onset of puberty. In high fat-fed rodents, the timing of vaginal opening (VO) is advanced, suggesting that puberty begins earlier. Because obesity can increase androgens, which interfere with normal steroid feedback in adult females, we hypothesized that androgens reduce hypothalamic sensitivity to negative feedback during puberty and that blocking androgen action would prevent advanced VO in high fat-fed mice. Age at VO was examined in mice fed high-fat or low-fat diets from weaning and treated with the androgen receptor antagonist flutamide or vehicle (controls). VO was advanced in high-fat vs. low-fat controls, and flutamide blocked this advancement. VO was also delayed in low fat-fed flutamide-treated females, suggesting involvement of androgens in the timing of normal puberty. We next investigated if high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance contributes to early VO, as elevated insulin can stimulate androgen production. VO was examined in mice on either diet treated with the insulin sensitizer metformin. Metformin blocked high-fat advancement of VO but did not alter the timing of VO in low fat-fed mice. Insulin was elevated in high fat-fed females that had undergone VO compared with age-matched low fat-fed or metformin-treated animals on either diet that had not undergone VO. Together, these data suggest a model in which metabolic changes induced by high-fat diet, including transient increased circulating insulin, act in part by increasing androgen action to influence the timing of puberty in females.

Diana S. Brill and Suzanne M. Moenter "Androgen Receptor Antagonism and an Insulin Sensitizer Block the Advancement of Vaginal Opening by High-Fat Diet in Mice," Biology of Reproduction 81(6), 1093-1098, (15 July 2009).
Received: 2 June 2009; Accepted: 1 July 2009; Published: 15 July 2009
androgen receptor
high-fat diet
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