Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1990 Nov;71(5):1288-93.

Estrogen preserves a normal intestinal responsiveness to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in oophorectomized women.

Author information

Institute of Medical Semeiotics, University of Siena School of Medicine, Italy.


Estrogen treatment improves calcium malabsorption induced by surgical or natural menopause, but the mechanisms involved are still under debate, with both increased production of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25-(OH)2D3] and improved peripheral responsiveness to the steroid having been proposed. To address this issue, we studied the effect of short term administration of 1,25-(OH)2D3 (1 microgram/day for 7 days) on intestinal fractional absorption of 47Ca (47Ca FA) and vertebral bone density, measured by dual photon absorptiometry, in 14 premenopausal women (aged 31-50 yr) before and 6 months after oophorectomy. After surgery, patients were randomly allocated to a 6-month treatment with either conjugated estrogens (0.625 mg/day; n = 7) or placebo (n = 7). Oophorectomy caused a decrease in both basal 47Ca FA (-40.8 +/- 23.4%; P = 0.004) and vertebral bone density (-7.21 +/- 1.20%; P less than 0.001) in the placebo group. Estrogen replacement prevented these changes and increased basal serum 1,25-(OH)2D3 (+10.3 +/- 10.9%; P = 0.047), whereas a detectable but not significant decrease was observed in the control group (-8.8 +/- 10.5%; P = 0.07). Assessment of 47Ca FA before and after 1,25-(OH)2D3 administration revealed a similar degree of responsiveness to the steroid in the estrogen-treated women before and at the end of the study period (45.8 +/- 6.9% vs. 42.9% +/- 14.9% from basal, respectively; P = 0.142), but a blunted response to 1,25-(OH)2D3 was observed in the placebo group at 6 months (27.9 +/- 17.7%) compared to the result obtained before surgery (36.7 +/- 9.1%; P = 0.032). Multifactor analysis of variance revealed that the effects of estrogen and 1,25-(OH)2D3 on 47Ca FA were independent of basal serum 1,25-(OH)2D3 levels. On the other hand, calcitriol administration increased serum 1,25-(OH)2D3 to a similar extent before and 6 months after surgery in the placebo group (24.2 +/- 18.3% vs. 34.7 +/- 16.7% from basal, respectively; P = 0.484) as well as in the estrogen-treated women (34.2 +/- 17.2% vs. 26.6 +/- 15.45%; P = 0.302). The significant impairment of 1,25-(OH)2D3 stimulation of 47Ca FA in spite of increased levels of circulating 1,25-(OH)2D3 in the untreated women is suggestive of an end-organ resistance to the vitamin D metabolite in a hypoestrogenic condition, which can be prevented by hormone replacement, and supports the hypothesis of a vitamin D-independent action of estrogen on intestinal calcium absorption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center