DOI: 10.1210/endocr/bqad132 ISSN:

Skeletal muscle function is altered in male mice on low dose androgen receptor antagonist or estrogen receptor agonist

Brent A Momb, Gillian K Szabo, Joshua P Mogus, Stuart R Chipkin, Laura N Vandenberg, Mark S Miller
  • Endocrinology


In males, skeletal muscle function may be altered by shifts in either circulating testosterone or estrogen. We examined the effect of acute (2 week) exposures to 17α-ethinyl estradiol (EE2), an estrogen receptor (ER) agonist, or flutamide, an androgen receptor (AR) antagonist, on the contractile function of individual skeletal muscle fibers from slow-contracting soleus and fast-contracting extensor digitorum longus muscles from adult male mice. Single fiber specific tension (force divided by cross-sectional area) was decreased with flutamide treatment in all myosin heavy chain fiber types examined (MHC I, IIA and IIB); similar effects were observed with EE2-treatment but only in the fastest-contracting MHC IIB fibers. The decreases in maximally Ca2+-activated specific tension were primarily a result of fewer strongly bound myosin-actin cross-bridges, with flutamide treatment also showing lower myofilament lattice stiffness. Myosin-actin cross-bridge kinetics were slower in MHC IIA fibers in flutamide-treated mice, but faster in EE2-treated mice, indicating that contractile velocity may be affected differently in this fiber type which is commonly expressed in human skeletal muscle. Importantly, these effects were observed in the absence of outcomes previously used to evaluate ER agonists or AR antagonists in rodents including weight of reproductive organs or mammary gland morphology. Our findings indicate that substantial shifts in skeletal muscle function occur in male mice following acute exposures to low doses of a pharmacological ER agonist and an AR antagonist. These results suggest that countermeasures to maintain physical function may be needed early in situations that induce similar ER agonist and AR antagonist conditions.

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