Pseudo-starvation driven energy expenditure negatively affects ovarian follicle development

Meng, Li; Coleman, Verena; Zhao, Yu; Ost, Mario; Voigt, Anja; Bunschoten, Annelies; Keijer, Jaap; Teerds, Katja; Klaus, Susanne


In the present investigation, we examined whether a change in whole body energy fluxes could affect ovarian follicular development, employing mice ectopically expressing uncoupling protein 1 in skeletal muscle (UCP1-TG). Female UCP1-TG and wild-type (WT) mice were dissected at the age of 12 weeks. Energy intake and expenditure, activity, body weight and length, and body composition were measured. Plasma insulin, glucose, leptin, plasma fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) and plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) levels were analyzed and ovarian follicle and corpus luteum numbers were counted. IGF1 signaling was analyzed by immunohistochemical staining for the activation of insulin receptor substrate 1/2 (IRS1/2) and AKT. UCP1-TG female mice had increased energy expenditure, reduced body size, maintained adiposity, and decreased IGF1 concentrations compared to their WT littermates, while preantral and antral follicle numbers were reduced by 40% and 60%, respectively. Corpora lutea were absent in 40% of the ovaries of UCP1-TG mice. Phospho-IRS1, phospho-AKT-Ser473 and-Thr308 immunostaining was present in the granulosa cells of antral follicles in WT ovaries, but faint to absent in the antral follicles of UCP1-TG mice. In conclusion, the reduction in circulating IGF1 levels due to the ectopic expression of UCP1 is associated with reduced immunostaining of the IRS1-PI3/AKT pathway, which may negatively affect ovarian follicle development and ovulation.