Prior weight loss exacerbates the biological drive to gain weight after the loss of ovarian function

Physiol Rep. 2017 May;5(10):e13272. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13272.


Both the history of obesity and weight loss may change how menopause affects metabolic health. The purpose was to determine whether obesity and/or weight loss status alters energy balance (EB) and subsequent weight gain after the loss of ovarian function. Female lean and obese Wistar rats were randomized to 15% weight loss (WL) or ad libitum fed controls (CON). After the weight loss period, WL rats were kept in EB at the reduced weight for 8 weeks prior to ovariectomy (OVX). After OVX, all rats were allowed to eat ad libitum until weight plateaued. Energy intake (EI), spontaneous physical activity, and total energy expenditure (TEE) were measured with indirect calorimetry before OVX, immediately after OVX, and after weight plateau. Changes in energy intake (EI), TEE, and weight gain immediately after OVX were similar between lean and obese rats. However, obese rats gained more total weight and fat mass than lean rats over the full regain period. Post-OVX, EI increased more (P ≤ 0.03) in WL rats (58.9 ± 3.5 kcal/d) than CON rats (8.5 ± 5.2 kcal/d), and EI partially normalized (change from preOVX: 20.5 ± 4.2 vs. 1.5 ± 4.9 kcal/day) by the end of the study. As a result, WL rats gained weight (week 1:44 ± 20 vs. 7 ± 25 g) more rapidly (mean = 44 ± 20 vs. 7 ± 25 g/week; P < 0.001) than CON Prior obesity did not affect changes in EB or weight regain following OVX, whereas a history of weight loss prior to OVX augmented disruptions in EB after OVX, resulting in more rapid weight regain.

Keywords: OVX; Energy balance; weight regain.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Ovariectomy
  • Ovary / metabolism*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Weight Gain*
  • Weight Loss*