DOI: 10.3390/diagnostics14030235 ISSN: 2075-4418

17β-Estradiol Effects in Skeletal Muscle: A 31P MR Spectroscopic Imaging (MRSI) Study of Young Females during Early Follicular (EF) and Peri-Ovulation (PO) Phases

Jimin Ren, Luis Rodriguez, Talon Johnson, Anke Henning, Yasin Y. Dhaher
  • Clinical Biochemistry

The natural variation in estrogen secretion throughout the female menstrual cycle impacts various organs, including estrogen receptor (ER)-expressed skeletal muscle. Many women commonly experience increased fatigue or reduced energy levels in the days leading up to and during menstruation, when blood estrogen levels decline. Yet, it remains unclear whether endogenous 17β-estradiol, a major estrogen component, directly affects the energy metabolism in skeletal muscle due to the intricate and fluctuating nature of female hormones. In this study, we employed 2D 31P FID-MRSI at 7T to investigate phosphoryl metabolites in the soleus muscle of a cohort of young females (average age: 28 ± 6 years, n = 7) during the early follicular (EF) and peri-ovulation (PO) phases, when their blood 17β-estradiol levels differ significantly (EF: 28 ± 18 pg/mL vs. PO: 71 ± 30 pg/mL, p < 0.05), while the levels of other potentially interfering hormones remain relatively invariant. Our findings reveal a reduction in ATP-referenced phosphocreatine (PCr) levels in the EF phase compared to the PO phase for all participants (5.4 ± 4.3%). Furthermore, we observe a linear correlation between muscle PCr levels and blood 17β-estradiol concentrations (r = 0.64, p = 0.014). Conversely, inorganic phosphate Pi and phospholipid metabolite GPC levels remain independent of 17β-estradiol but display a high correlation between the EF and PO phases (p = 0.015 for Pi and p = 0.0008 for GPC). The robust association we have identified between ATP-referenced PCr and 17β-estradiol suggests that 17β-estradiol plays a modulatory role in the energy metabolism of skeletal muscle.

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