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Curr Genomics. 2009 May;10(3):169-83. doi: 10.2174/138920209788185289.

Estrogen Regulation of MicroRNA Expression.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Center for Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40292, USA.


Women outlive men, but life expectancy is not influenced by hormone replacement (estrogen + progestin) therapy. Estrogens appear to protect brain, cardiovascular tissues, and bone from aging. Estrogens regulate genes directly through binding to estrogen receptors alpha and beta (ERalpha and ERbeta) that are ligand-activated transcription factors and indirectly by activating plasma membrane-associated ER which, in turns, activates intracellular signaling cascades leading to altered gene expression. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short (19-25 nucleotides), naturally-occurring, non-coding RNA molecules that base-pair with the 3' untranslated region of target mRNAs. This interaction either blocks translation of the mRNA or targets the mRNA transcript to be degraded. The human genome contains ~ 700-1,200 miRNAs. Aberrant patterns of miRNA expression are implicated in human diseases including breast cancer. Recent studies have identified miRNAs regulated by estrogens in human breast cancer cells, human endometrial stromal and myometrial smooth muscle cells, rat mammary gland, and mouse uterus. The decline of estradiol levels in postmenopausal women has been implicated in various age-associated disorders. The role of estrogen-regulated miRNA expression, the target genes of these miRNAs, and the role of miRNAs in aging has yet to be explored.


MicroRNA; estrogen; estrogen receptor.; miRNA

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