Estrogen prevents the reduction in fractional calcium absorption due to energy restriction in mature rats

Mariana Cifuentes, Juan P. Advis, Sue A. Shapses

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12 Scopus citations


Weight reduction is a risk factor for bone loss. We previously showed that energy restriction is associated with a decrease in calcium (Ca) absorption and decreased estrogenic activity (EA). We hypothesized that this hypoestrogenic status may be the cause of the decrease in Ca absorption and that estrogen replacement during energy restriction would prevent it. Six-month-old rats were ovariectomized and implanted subcutaneously with 17β-estradiol (E 2) pellets to maintain levels within the physiological range. After 3 wk, rats ate ad libitum [control (CTL) group, n = 12] or were 40% energy restricted (EnR group, n = 12) for 10 wk. At the end of this study, rats were divided into 2 groups according to their uterine weight: those with higher EA and those with lower EA. Whereas CTL rats gained ∼46% weight from baseline, EnR rats maintained their weight throughout the study. Energy restriction was associated with lower Ca absorption (5-d measurement, 45Ca radioisotope) and Ca balance in lower EA but not higher EA rats. Similarly, Ca absorption was correlated with both serum E2 (r = 0.68, P < 0.05) and body weight (r = 0.72, P < 0.05) in rats with lower EA but not in those with higher EA. Finally, 24-h corticosterone excretion was higher in EnR than in CTL rats, a response that was blunted in the higher EA rats. Our findings suggest that decreases in estrogen and hyperadrenocorticism with energy restriction play an important role in the regulation of Ca absorption and balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1929-1934
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Absorption
  • Calcium
  • Corticosterone
  • Estrogen
  • Weight loss


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