Testosterone modulates the expression of molecules linked to insulin action and glucose uptake in endometrial cells

Horm Metab Res. 2013 Sep;45(9):640-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1345176. Epub 2013 May 22.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hyperandrogenic disorder associated with insulin resistance. Insulin exerts its metabolic function by activating the PI3K/Akt pathway and favoring glucose uptake. Caveolin-1 is a scaffolding protein which increases insulin receptor (IR) stability. Alternatively, activation of IR increases caveolin-1 phosphorylation on tyrosine-14. Furthermore, endometrial tissue from PCOS patients is proposed to be insulin resistant; however, the particular role of testosterone in modulating the metabolic effects of insulin remains unexplored in endometrial stromal cells. To evaluate whether androgens modulate the response to insulin, T-HESCs cells were stimulated with 100 nM testosterone for 24 h and changes in the protein levels of caveolin-1, IR, and Akt were determined by Western blotting (WB). After testosterone treatment, the consequences of acute insulin stimulation were evaluated by WB analysis of phospho-S473Akt and phospho-Y14Caveolin-1, as well as by measuring glucose incorporation analyzing 2-deoxyglucose (2-DOG) uptake. For cells pretreated with testosterone, higher IR, IRS-1, and caveolin-1 protein levels compared with control conditions were detected. However, in testosterone treated cells acute insulin stimulation did not increase phospho-S473Akt and phospho-Y14caveolin-1 levels and reduced 2-DOG uptake was observed compared to control cells. Our results suggest that testosterone may have a detrimental role on the metabolic effects of insulin in endometrial stromal cell cultures. Thus, the high androgen levels in patients with PCOS may favor insulin resistance observed in endometria from these women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caveolin 1 / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Endometrium / cytology*
  • Endometrium / drug effects
  • Endometrium / enzymology
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Phosphoserine / metabolism
  • Phosphotyrosine / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Testosterone / pharmacology*


  • Caveolin 1
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • Phosphoserine
  • Phosphotyrosine
  • Testosterone
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Receptor, Insulin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Glucose