Morphological and molecular variations induce mitochondrial dysfunction as a possible underlying mechanism of athletic amenorrhea
- Ruo‑Hong Xiong
- Shi‑Lei Wen
- Qiang Wang
- Hong‑Ying Zhou
- Shi Feng
Published online on: November 8, 2017
Female athletes may experience difficulties in achieving pregnancy due to athletic amenorrhea (AA); however, the underlying mechanisms of AA remain unknown. The present study focuses on the mitochondrial alteration and its function in detecting the possible mechanism of AA. An AA rat model was established by excessive swimming. Hematoxylin and eosin staining, and transmission electron microscopic methods were performed to evaluate the morphological changes of the ovary, immunohistochemical examinations and radioimmunoassays were used to detect the reproductive hormones and corresponding receptors. Reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT‑qPCR) was used to test the mtDNA copy number. PCR and western blot analysis were used to test the expression of ND2. The change of morphological features of the rat ovaries revealed evident abnormalities. Particularly, the features of the mitochondria were markedly altered. In addition, reproductive hormones in the serum and tissues of AA rats were also detected to evaluate the function of the ovaries, and the levels of these hormones were significantly decreased. Furthermore, the mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNA) and expression of NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2) were quantitated by qPCR or western blot analysis. Accordingly, the mtDNA copy number and expression of ND2 expression were markedly reduced in the AA rats. In conclusion, mitochondrial dysfunction in AA may affect the cellular energy supply and, therefore, result in dysfunction of the ovary. Thus, mitochondrial dysfunction may be considered as a possible underlying mechanism for the occurrence of AA.