Ovariectomy leads to weight gain primarily in the form of adipose tissue in rodents. The authors investigated whether swimming improves ovariectomy-induced obesity through activation of peroxisome proliferatoractivated receptor α (PPARα) in the skeletal muscle of female ovariectomized (OVX) mice, an animal model of postmenopausal women. Female mice were randomly divided into 3 groups (n = 8/group): a sedentary sham-operated group, a sedentary OVX group, and a swim-trained OVX group. After mice were subjected to swim training or kept sedentary for 6 wk, the authors studied the effects of swimming on not only bodyweight gain, white adipose tissue (WAT) mass, adipocyte size, and skeletal-muscle lipid accumulation but also the expression of skeletal-muscle PPARα target genes. Sedentary OVX mice had significantly higher body weight and WAT than sedentary sham mice. However, swim training reduced body-weight gain, WAT mass, and adipocyte size of OVX mice. Swim-trained OVX mice had significantly lower levels of serum triglycerides and total cholesterol than sedentary OVX mice. Lipid accumulation in skeletal muscle was also markedly decreased by swimming. Concomitantly, swim training significantly increased mRNA levels of skeletal-muscle PPARα and its target enzymes, as well as uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) responsible for fattyacid oxidation. These results suggest that swimming can effectively prevent weight gain, adiposity, adipocyte hypertrophy, and lipid disorders caused by ovariectomy, in part through the activation of PPARα and UCP3, in the skeletal muscle of female mice and may contribute to the alleviation of metabolic syndrome, including obesity, hyperlipidemia, and Type 2 diabetes in postmenopausal women.
The authors are with the Dept. of Life Science, Mokwon University, Daejeon, Korea.