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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2008 Jul 16;289(1-2):38-48. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2008.03.005. Epub 2008 Mar 25.

Estrogen and the selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) protection against cell death in estrogen receptor alpha and beta expressing U2OS cells.

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  • 1Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Anatomy, University of Turku, Tykistökatu 6 B, 20520 Turku, Finland.


In the current work, we compared the ability of 17beta-estradiol (E2) and the selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), tamoxifen (Tam), raloxifene (Ral) and ospemifene (Osp) to promote the survival of osteoblast-derived cells against etoposide-induced apoptosis. In order to compare the roles of the two estrogen receptor (ER) isotypes, we created a U2OS human osteosarcoma cell line stably expressing either ERalpha (ERalpha) or ERbeta (ERbeta). Transfection with either of the ERs was able to render the U2OS cells sensitive to E2. We show that E2 opposed etoposide-induced apoptosis and that the effect was mediated via both ER isotypes. The ER isotype selective agonists propyl-pyrazole-triol (PPT) and diarylpropionitrile (DPN) had the same effect in U2OS/ERalpha and U2OS/ERbeta cells, respectively. Osp also opposed apoptosis at least in U2OS/ERalpha cells. Tam and Ral were not able to protect against etoposide-induced cell death. In order to evaluate the protective effects of E2 and Osp upon etoposide challenge, we studied the expression of two E2-regulated, osteoblast-produced cytokines, IL-6 and OPG in E2 and SERM-treated U2OS/ERalpha and U2OS/ERbeta cells. Etoposide strongly increased expression of IL-6 and decreased that of OPG. E2 opposed IL-6 increase only in U2OS/ERalpha cells and OPG decrease primarily in ERbeta cells. Osp opposed the effect of etoposide on OPG primarily in U2OS/ERbeta cells but interestingly, it had little effect on IL-6 expression. E2, PPT, DNP and Osp also inhibited etoposide-induced death and cytokine changes in SAOS-2 osteosarcoma cells expressing endogenous ERalpha and ERbeta. Collectively, our results suggest that the osteoblast protective anti-apoptotic effects of E2 are mediated by both ERalpha and ERbeta but those of Osp primarily by ERalpha. In addition, E2 and Osp opposed the etoposide-induced increase of IL-6 and decrease of OPG which changes would increase osteoclastic activity. These anti-resorptive effects of E2 and Osp upon etoposide challenge differed from each other and they seemed to be differentially mediated in ERalpha and ERbeta expressing osteoblast-derived U2OS cells.

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