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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Mar;86(3):1370-8.

Estrogen receptor beta, but not estrogen receptor alpha, is present in the vascular endothelium of the human and nonhuman primate endometrium.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom EH3 9ET.


Estrogen action is dependent upon the presence of specific ligand-activated receptors in target tissues. The aim of the present experiments was to compare the spatial and temporal pattern of expression of estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) with that of ERalpha in full thickness endometrial samples (from the superficial to the basal zone) obtained from both women and rhesus macaques. Immunohistochemical localization with specific antibodies revealed that ERalpha and ERbeta were both expressed in nuclei of the glands and stroma. Consistent with previous studies, expression of ERalpha declined in the glands and stroma of the functionalis during the secretory phase. The luminal epithelium also displayed positive immunoreactivity for ERbeta. Expression of ERbeta declined in glandular cell nuclei, but not stroma, within the functionalis during the late secretory phase. Levels of expression of ERalpha and ERbeta in all cellular compartments remained unchanged in the basalis. Both receptor subtypes were detected on Western blots using proteins extracted from uterine samples obtained throughout the menstrual cycle. There was a striking contrast between the pattern of expression of ERalpha and ERbeta in the vascular endothelium and the perivascular cells surrounding endometrial blood vessels; only ERbeta was present in the endothelial cell population, although both forms of ER were expressed in perivascular cells. We conclude that estrogen action(s) within the vascular endothelium in the endometrium may be mediated via direct binding to the ERbeta isoform and that these cells could therefore be a target for agonists or antagonists that selectively target the beta form of the ER.

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