Effects of ovariectomy and exercise training intensity on energy substrate and hepatic lipid metabolism, and spontaneous physical activity in mice

Metabolism. 2018 Jun:83:234-244. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2018.02.011. Epub 2018 Mar 6.


Background: Menopause is associated with fatty liver, glucose dysregulation, increased body fat, and impaired bone quality. Previously, it was demonstrated that single sessions of high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) are more effective than distance- and duration-matched continuous exercise (CE) on altering hepatic triglyceride (TG) metabolism and very-low density lipoprotein-TG (VLDL-TG) secretion.

Methods: Six weeks training using these modalities was examined for effects on hepatic TG metabolism/secretion, glucose tolerance, body composition, and bone mineral density (BMD) in ovariectomized (OVX) and sham-operated (SHAM) mice. OVX and SHAM were assigned to distance- and duration-matched CE and HIIE, or sedentary control.

Results: Energy expenditure during exercise was confirmed to be identical between CE and HIIE and both similarly reduced post-exercise absolute carbohydrate oxidation and spontaneous physical activity (SPA). OVX vs. SHAM displayed impaired glucose tolerance and greater body fat despite lower hepatic TG, and these outcomes were not affected by training. Only HIIE increased hepatic AMPK in OVX and SHAM, but neither training type impacted VLDL-TG secretion. As expected, BMD was lower in OVX, and training did not affect long bones.

Conclusions: The results reveal intensity-dependent effects on hepatic AMPK expression and general exercise effects on subsequent SPA and substrate oxidation that is independent of estrogen status. These findings support the notion that HIIE can impact aspects of liver physiology in females while the effects of exercise on whole body substrate selection appear to be independent of training intensity. However, neither exercise approach mitigated the impairment in glucose tolerance and elevated body fat occurring in OVX mice.

Keywords: Bone; Estrogen; High-intensity interval exercise; Menopause; Osteoporosis; Postexercise; Training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Estrogens / deficiency
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Ovariectomy* / adverse effects
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / methods*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*


  • Estrogens