The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology

Dihydrotestosterone deteriorates cardiac insulin signaling and glucose transport in the rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome.

PMID 24472754


It is supposed that women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are prone to develop cardiovascular disease as a consequence of multiple risk factors that are mostly related to the state of insulin resistance and consequent hyperinsulinemia. In the present study, we evaluated insulin signaling and glucose transporters (GLUT) in cardiac cells of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) treated female rats as an animal model of PCOS. Expression of proteins involved in cardiac insulin signaling pathways and glucose transporters, as well as their phosphorylation or intracellular localization were studied by Western blot analysis in DHT-treated and control rats. Treatment with DHT resulted in increased body mass, absolute mass of the heart, elevated plasma insulin concentration, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. At the molecular level, DHT treatment did not change protein expression of cardiac insulin receptor and insulin receptor substrate 1, while phosphorylation of the substrate at serine 307 was increased. Unexpectedly, although expression of downstream Akt kinase and its phosphorylation at threonine 308 were not altered, phosphorylation of Akt at serine 473 was increased in the heart of DHT-treated rats. In contrast, expression and phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinases 1/2 were decreased. Plasma membrane contents of GLUT1 and GLUT4 were decreased, as well as the expression of GLUT4 in cardiac cells at the end of androgen treatment. The obtained results provide evidence for alterations in expression and especially in functional characteristics of insulin signaling molecules and glucose transporters in the heart of DHT-treated rats with PCOS, indicating impaired cardiac insulin action.