The effects of chronic testosterone administration on body weight, food intake, and fat weight were age-dependent
Previously, we showed that chronic testosterone administration increased body weight (BW) and food intake (FI), but did not alter fat weight, in young female rats. To examine our hypothesis that the effects of androgens on BW, FI and body composition might be age-dependent, the effects of chronic testosterone administration were evaluated in rats of different ages; i.e., young and middle-aged rats. Although chronic testosterone administration increased BW gain, FI, and feed efficiency in both young and middle-aged rats, it increased visceral fat weight in middle-aged rats, but not in young rats. Therefore, it is possible that testosterone promotes the conversion of energy to adipose tissue and exacerbates fat accumulation in older individuals. In addition, although the administration of testosterone increased the serum leptin level, it did not alter hypothalamic neuropeptide Y mRNA expression in middle-aged rats. On the contrary, the administration of testosterone did not affect the serum leptin levels of young rats. Thus, testosterone might induce hypothalamic leptin resistance, which could lead to fat accumulation in older individuals. Testosterone might disrupt the mechanisms that protect against adiposity and hyperphagia and represent a risk factor for excessive body weight and obesity, especially in older females.