Effects of ovariectomy on PPARα, SREBP-1c, and SCD-1 gene expression in the rat liver

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To investigate whether estrogen deficiency modifies the expression of important genes involved in hepatic lipid regulation, PPARα, SREBP-1c, and SCD-1, in association with fat accumulation in the liver of ovariectomized rats.


Thirty female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups: sham-operated (n = 12), ovariectomized (n = 12), and ovariectomized with 17β-estradiol replacement (n = 6). All animals were killed 8 weeks after surgery. In addition to liver triacylglycerol determination, transcripts levels and protein content of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α, liver sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c, and stearoyl coenzyme Adesaturase 1 were quantified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot, respectively.


As expected, liver triacylglycerol levels were higher (51%; 21.9 ± 2.6 vs 14.5 ± 1.2 mg/g; P < 0.01) in ovariectomized compared with sham-operated rats. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α mRNA levels were 66% lower (P < 0.01), whereas sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 and stearoyl coenzyme A desaturase 1 transcript levels were 80% and 41% higher (P < 0.05), respectively, after estrogen removal. Our data on gene expression obtained with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α and sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c were confirmed by Western blots. All the effects of ovariectomy were prevented by 17β-estradiol replacement, indicating a role for estrogens in the prevention of hepatic fat accumulation.


Our results suggest that a reduction in lipid oxidation and an increase in lipogenesis are defective mechanisms leading to lipid accumulation in the liver of ovariectomized rats. We conclude that estrogen deficiency induced by ovariectomy changes the expression of genes that favor the development of a steatotic phenotype.

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