Sex differences in substrate metabolism and energy homeostasis.
Females differ remarkably from males in the mechanisms that regulate substrate utilization and energy homeostasis. Females appear to be less affected in terms of growth and loss of body tissues when subjected to chronic periods of negative energy balance. The physiological trade-off appears to be a stronger propensity toward retention of fat mass during times of energy surfeit. The mechanism(s) that account for sex differences in energy metabolism are not known but most likely involve the sex steroids. Recent discoveries in the areas of endocrinology and metabolism may provide new insights into differences in the control of food intake and energy conservation between the sexes. Finally, the study of the mechanism(s) involved in the regulation of skeletal muscle lipid metabolism represents a new frontier in skeletal muscle bioenergetics, and new discoveries may provide further explanations for the observed sex differences in substrate utilization and response(s) to alterations in energy homeostasis.
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