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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2004 Mar;286(3):C655-61.

Evidence for functional estrogen receptors alpha and beta in human adipose cells: regional specificities and regulation by estrogens.

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Service de Biochimie et de Biologie Moléculaire, UPRES EA 2493, Faculté Paris-Ile de France-Quest, Université Versailles St Quentin, Centre Hospitalier de Poissy, 78303 Cedex, France.


Adipocytes are estrogen-responsive cells, but the quantitative expression and transcriptional regulation of the estrogen receptors (ER-alpha and ER-beta) in human adipocytes and their precursor cells are unclear. Using real-time quantitative PCR, we have demonstrated that both ER-alpha and ER-beta mRNA are expressed in human mature adipocytes with a large predominance of ER-alpha mRNA. Moreover, ER-alpha mRNA is identically expressed whatever the anatomic origin (intraabdominal and subcutaneous) of the adipocytes and the gender. ER-beta mRNA levels are higher in women compared with men, without regional differences. 17beta-Estradiol in vitro upregulates expression of both ER-alpha and ER-beta mRNA in subcutaneous adipocytes from women but only the ER-alpha mRNA in subcutaneous and intra-abdominal adipocytes from men. In preadipocytes, only the ER-alpha subtype was present. In the latter cells, estrogens in vitro had no influence on ER-alpha expression (mRNA and protein). The present study also shows that estrogens in vitro increase the AP-1, SP-1, and estrogen response element DNA binding activities in differentiated but not in confluent preadipocytes, suggesting that ER become functional during the course of adipogenesis. On the whole, these data are consistent with a predominant role of the ER-alpha subtype in mediating the effects of estrogens on human adipose tissue development and metabolism.

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