Removal of ovarian hormones from mature mice detrimentally affects muscle contractile function and myosin structural distribution

Amy L. Moran, Gordon L. Warren, Dawn A. Lowe

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95 Scopus citations


The purposes of this study were to determine the effects of ovarian hormone removal on force-generating capacities and contractile proteins in soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of mature female mice. Six-month-old female C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned to either an ovariectomized (OVX; n = 13) or a sham-operated (sham; n = 13) group. In vitro contractile function of soleus and EDL muscles were determined 60 days postsurgery. Total protein and contractile protein contents were quantified, and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy was used to determine myosin structural distribution during contraction. OVX mice weighed 15% more than sham mice 60 days postsurgery, and soleus and EDL muscle masses were 19 and 15% greater in OVX mice, respectively (P ≤ 0.032). Soleus and EDL muscles from OVX mice generated less maximal isometric force than did those from sham mice [soleus: 0.27 (SD 0.04) vs. 0.22 N·cm·mg-1 (SD 0.04) ; EDL: 0.33 (SD 0.04) vs. 0.27 N·cm·mg-1 SD 0.04); P ≤ 0.006]. Total and contractile protein contents of soleus and EDL muscles were not different between OVX and sham mice P ≥ 0.242), indicating that the quantity of contractile machinery was not affected by removing ovarian hormones. EPR spectroscopy showed that the fraction of strong-binding myosin during contraction was 15% lower in EDL muscles from OVX mice compared with shams [0.277 (SD 0.039) vs. 0.325 (SD 0.020); P = 0.004]. These results indicate that the loss of ovarian hormones has detrimental effects on skeletal muscle force-generating capacities that can be explained by altered actin-myosin interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-554
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Estrogen
  • Force
  • Skeletal muscle


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