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Sex differences in glucocorticoids-induced anabolic effects in rats

Stopa, Larissa Rugila S., de Souza, Camila F., Santos, Geisielle Fernandes, Martins, Andressa B., Ferreira, Renan Nascimento, de Andrade, Fábio Goulart, Leite, Cristiane Mota, Zaia, Dimas A.M., Zaia, Cassia Thaïs B.V., Uchoa, Ernane Torres
Physiology & behavior 2019 v.209 pp. 112587
adipocytes, adipose tissue, blood glucose, body weight changes, cholesterol, corticosterone, dexamethasone, energy, estrogens, females, food intake, free fatty acids, gender differences, glucose tolerance tests, homeostasis, humans, males, obesity, protective effect, rats, receptors, triacylglycerols
Glucocorticoids (GC) increase food intake and body weight in humans and rodents and chronic stress and GC treatment-induced enhancement of the plasma concentration of GC lead to obesity and metabolic changes. In response to hypercaloric treatment, males were shown to be more susceptible to obesity than females, demonstrating that sex differences may affect energy homeostasis. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effects of prolonged (28 days) treatment with dexamethasone or corticosterone on food intake and body weight gain in intact rats, both male and female. Also examined were Lee index, weights and area of adipocytes of retroperitoneal and perigonadal+perirenal adipose tissues, glucose tolerance test (GTT) and plasma concentrations of free fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides. Treatment with dexamethasone was able to increase body weight, food intake, area of adipocytes and weight of retroperitoneal adipose tissue in males. Prolonged treatment with corticosterone also stimulated body weight gain and food intake in males. In addition, it induced an increase in the area of adipocytes and weight of perirenal+perigonadal adipose tissue and higher glycemia after GTT in these animals, without changes on Lee index and plasma parameters after both GC treatments. No parameter was changed by dexamethasone or corticosterone treatment in female rats. Thus, it can be concluded that male rats are more susceptible to the anabolic effects of glucocorticoids than female rats, and these responses can be due to the protective effects of circulating estrogens in females, and/or the difference between males and females in the expression/activity of corticosteroids receptors.