Previous studies indicate women have a higher blood alcohol (i.e., ethanol) and acetaldehyde concentration after consuming an equivalent amount of alcohol, and that women are more susceptible to the long-term negative health effects of alcohol. However, there is a paucity of data pertaining to whether there is a sexual dimorphic response in skeletal muscle to alcohol. Adult male and female Sprague–Dawley rats were used and the primary endpoint was in vivo determined muscle (gastrocnemius) protein synthesis (MPS). The initial study indicated MPS did not differ in female rats during proestrus, estrus, metestrus, or diestrus; hence, subsequent studies used female rats irrespective of estrus cycle phase. There was no difference in MPS between male and female rats under basal fasted conditions, and the time- and dose-responsiveness of both groups to the inhibitory effect of acute alcohol did not differ. The ability of alcohol to suppress MPS was comparable in male and female rats pretreated with alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitor 4-methylpyrazol. Chronic alcohol feeding for 6 weeks decreased MPS in male but not in female rats; however, MPS was reduced in both sexes at 14 weeks. Finally, oral gavage of leucine increased MPS similarly in male and female rats and chronic alcohol feeding for 14 weeks prevented the anabolic effect in both sexes. These data suggest normal fluctuations in ovarian hormones do not significantly alter MPS in female rats, and that there is no sexual dimorphic response to the effects of acute alcohol intoxication on MPS. While chronic alcohol consumption appeared to decrease MPS at an early time point in male compared to female rats, there was no sex difference in the suppressive effect of alcohol at a later time point. Overall, these data do not support the prevailing belief that females are more susceptible than males to alcohol's catabolic effect on MPS.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)