Aim: We aimed to examine the alterations of the insulin signaling pathway, autophagy, nitrative stress and the effect of vitamin D supplementation in the liver and ovaries of vitamin D deficient hyperandrogenic rats.
Methods: Female Wistar rats received eight weeks of transdermal testosterone treatment and lived on a low vitamin D diet (D-T+). Vitamin D supplementation was achieved by oral administration of vitamin D3 (D+T+). Sham-treated (D+T-) and vitamin D deficient animals (D-T-) served as controls. (N = 10-12 per group).
Results: D-T+ animals showed decreased LC3 II levels in the liver and increased p-Akt/Akt and p-eNOS/eNOS ratios with decreased insulin receptor staining in the ovaries. Vitamin D supplementation prevented the increase of Akt phosphorylation in the ovaries. Vitamin D deficiency itself also led to decreased LC3 II levels in the liver and decreased insulin receptor staining in the ovaries. D-T+ group showed no increase in nitrotyrosine staining; however, the ovaries of D-T- rats and the liver of D+T+ animals showed increased staining intensity.
Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency itself might lead to disrupted ovarian maturation and autophagy malfunction in the liver. Preventing Akt phosphorylation may contribute to the beneficial effect of vitamin D treatment on ovarian function in hyperandrogenism.
Keywords: autophagy; hyperandrogenism; insulin resistance; oxidative stress; polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); vitamin D.