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Yuriko Kitajima and Yusuke Ono

Estrogens have crucial roles in an extensive range of physiological functions regulating cellular proliferation and differentiation, development, homeostasis, and metabolism. Therefore, prolonged estrogen insufficiency influences various types of tissues expressing estrogen receptors (ERs). Although ERs are expressed in skeletal muscle and its stem cells, called satellite cells, how prolonged estrogen insufficiency affects their function remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the effect of estrogen reduction on muscle in young ovariectomized (OVX) female mice. We found that reduced estrogens resulted in muscle atrophy in a time-dependent manner. Muscle force generation was reduced in OVX mice. Interestingly, prolonged estrogen insufficiency shifted fiber types toward faster myosin heavy chain isoforms. The number of satellite cells per isolated myofiber was unchanged, while satellite cell expansion, differentiation, and self-renewal were all markedly impaired in OVX mice. Indeed, muscle regeneration was significantly compromised in OVX mice. Taken together, our results demonstrate that estrogens are essential for comprehensively maintaining muscle function with its insufficiency affecting muscle strength and regeneration in young female mice.