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A Novel Tissue-Specific Insight Into Sex Steroid Fluctuations Throughout the Murine Estrous Cycle.

Endocrinology 2023 November 16
AIMS: Serum sex steroid levels fluctuate throughout the reproductive cycle. However, the degree to which sex steroid tissue content mimics circulating content is unknown. Understanding the flux and physiological quantity of tissue steroid content is imperative for targeted hormonal therapy development.

METHODS: Utilizing a gold-standard ultrasensitive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry method (LC/MS) we determined sex steroid (17β-Estradiol (E2), testosterone, androstenedione, and progesterone) fluctuations in serum and in 15 tissues throughout the murine estrous cycle (proestrus, estrus, and diestrus I) and in ovariectomized (OVX) mice.

RESULTS: We observed dynamic fluctuations in serum and tissue steroid content throughout the estrous cycle with proestrus generally presenting the highest content of E2, testosterone, and androstenedione, and lowest content of progesterone. In general, the trend in circulating steroid content between the stages of the estrous cycle was mimicked in tissue. However, the absolute amounts of steroid levels when normalized to tissue weight were found to be significantly different between the tissues with the serum steroid quantity often being significantly lower than the tissue quantity. Additionally, we found that OVX mice generally displayed a depletion of all steroids in the various tissues assessed, except for in the adrenal glands which was determined to be the main site of peripheral E2 production after ovary removal.

CONCLUSION: This investigation provides a comprehensive analysis of steroid content throughout the estrous cycle in a multitude of tissues and serum. We believe this information will help serve as the basis for the development of physiologically-relevant, tissue-specific hormonal therapies.

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