Background: Obesity causes several health complications along with disruption of the reproductive system. The aim of the current study was to determine how long-term intake of very high fat diet (VHFD) changes the hormonal milieu, affecting the cellular morphology and reproductive cycle in female mice.
Material/Methods: Mice were fed on normal diet (ND) and VHFD for 2 weeks, 12 weeks, and 25–27 weeks. We assessed changes in body weight, food consumption, energy intake, cellular and tissue morphology, hormonal levels (leptin, insulin, and estradiol), and vaginal smears were performed at various time points to determine the length and cellularity at each stage of the estrous cycle.
Results: Mice fed on VHFD showed a significant increase in weight gain, reduction in food intake, and increase in energy intake compared to animals fed on ND, indicating that the caloric density of the diet is responsible for the differences in weight gain. Hormonal analysis showed hyperleptinemia, hyperinsulinemia, and increases in estrogen levels, along with increases in size of the islet of Langerhans and adipocytes. After 25–27 weeks, all animals fed on VHFD showed complete acyclicity; elongation of phases (e.g., diestrous), skipping of phases (e.g., metestrous), or a combination of both, indicating disruption in the reproductive cycle. Quantitative analysis showed that in the diestrous phase there was a 70% increase in cell count in VHFD compared to animals fed on ND.
Conclusions: The above results show that morphological and hormonal changes caused by VHFD probably act via negative feedback to the hypothalamic-pituitary axis to shut down reproduction, which has a direct effect on the estrous cycle, causing acyclicity in mice.