Voluntary Exercise Improves Estrous Cyclicity in Prenatally Androgenized Female Mice Despite Programming Decreased Voluntary Exercise: Implications for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

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Prenatal androgen (PNA) exposure in mice produces a phenotype resembling lean polycystic ovary syndrome. We studied effects of voluntary exercise on metabolic and reproductive parameters in PNA vs vehicle (VEH)-treated mice. Mice (8 wk of age) were housed individually and estrous cycles monitored. At 10 weeks of age, mice were divided into groups (PNA, PNA-run, VEH, VEH-run, n = 8–9/group); those in the running groups received wheels allowing voluntary running. Unexpectedly, PNA mice ran less distance than VEH mice; ovariectomy eliminated this difference. In ovary-intact mice, there was no difference in glucose tolerance, lower limb muscle fiber types, weight, or body composition among groups after 16 weeks of running, although some mitochondrial proteins were mildly up-regulated by exercise in PNA mice. Before running, estrous cycles in PNA mice were disrupted with most days in diestrus. There was no change in cycles during weeks 1–6 of running (10–15 wk of age). In contrast, from weeks 11 to 16 of running, cycles in PNA mice improved with more days in proestrus and estrus and fewer in diestrus. PNA programs reduced voluntary exercise, perhaps mediated in part by ovarian secretions. Exercise without weight loss improved estrous cycles, which if translated could be important for fertility in and counseling of lean women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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