Effects of ovarian hormones on exercise metabolism

Shannon E. Campbell, Mark A. Febbraio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Growing evidence suggests that the ovarian hormones have major effects on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and may also play a major role in up-stream molecular signaling mechanisms for regulating substrate metabolism. It appears that the absence of estrogen can impair glucose uptake during exercise. In contrast, progesterone not only impairs contraction-mediated glucose uptake when solely administered, but impairs glucose uptake when physiological concentrations of both estrogen and progesterone are administered. Likewise, progesterone administered to rodents for 14 days decreases glucose transporter (GLUT) 4 protein content in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Furthermore removing the ovaries decreases the activity of key oxidative enzymes while estrogen treatment restores the activity of these enzymes. It appears, therefore, that estrogen increases the metabolic capacity for both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, perhaps increasing the overall metabolic flexibility of skeletal muscle. Conversely, progesterone negates both these effects, and could therefore result in a state of relative metabolic inflexibility, similar to that observed in the metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-520
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes

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