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Biochem J. 1998 Aug 1;333 ( Pt 3):787-94.

Age-related changes in human oestrogen receptor alpha function and levels in osteoblasts.

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  • 1Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Oestrogen receptors (ERs) are present in human osteoblasts and mediate anti-resorptive effects on bone. Human osteoblast-like cells derived from different aged healthy female donors not on hormone replacement therapy were utilized under well-defined conditions in vitro to investigate ER function and levels. Treatment with 0.1 nM oestradiol-17beta of cell strains derived from eight young women (less than 50 years of age) increased hydroxyproline levels significantly [an average (2.2+/-0.1 S.E.M.)-fold increase], whereas cells derived from nine older women (more than 50 years of age) were not significantly affected. Similarly, cell strains, derived from younger women, transfected with a consensus oestrogen-responsive element linked to chloramphenicol acetyltransferase exhibited a greater response to oestrogen than strains derived from older women. When basal ERalpha levels were measured by enzyme immunoassay and normalized on a per cell basis, osteoblast-like strains derived from younger women (n=24) had a mean value of 2.54+/-0.16 fmol of ERalpha per 10(6) cells. In contrast, strains derived from older women (n=20) had a mean value of 5.44+/-0.48 fmol of ERalpha per 10(6) cells. An age-related increase in ERalpha number was also observed in human skin-derived fibroblasts and directly in dermal biopsies from women not on hormone replacement therapy. The results demonstrate ligand concentration-dependent ERalpha induction and indicate a loss of receptor regulation and diminution of ligand-receptor signal transduction with increasing donor age.

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