Skeletal muscle contractility and myosin function decline following ovariectomy in mature female mice. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that estradiol replacement can reverse those declines. Four-month-old female C57BL/6 mice (n = 69) were ovariectomized (OVX) or sham operated. Some mice were treated immediately with placebo or 17β-estradiol (OVX + E2) while other mice were treated 30 days postsurgery. Thirty or sixty days postsurgery, soleus muscles were assessed in vitro for contractile function and susceptibility to eccentric contraction-induced injury. Myosin structural dynamics was analyzed in extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. Maximal isometric tetanic force was affected by estradiol status (P < 0.001) being ∼10% less in soleus muscles from OVX compared with sham-operated mice [168 mN (SD 16.7) vs. 180 mN (SD 14.4)] and was restored in OVX + E2 mice [187 mN (SD 17.6)]. The fraction of strong-binding myosin during contraction was also affected (P = 0.045) and was ∼15% lower in EDL muscles from OVX compared with OVX + E 2 mice [0.263 (SD 0.034) vs. 0.311 (SD 0.022)]. Plasma estradiol levels were correlated with maximal isometric tetanic force (r = 0.458; P < 0.001) and active stiffness (r = 0.329; P = 0.044), indicating that circulating estradiol influenced muscle and myosin function. Estradiol was not effective in protecting muscle against an acute eccentric contraction-induced injury (P ≥ 0.401) but did restore ovariectomy-induced increases in muscle wet mass caused by fluid accumulation. Collectively, estradiol had a beneficial effect on female mouse skeletal muscle.
- Muscle force
- Skeletal muscle