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Am J Sports Med. 1997 Sep-Oct;25(5):704-9.

Estrogen affects the cellular metabolism of the anterior cruciate ligament. A potential explanation for female athletic injury.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine 90095, USA.


Investigations from this laboratory have established the presence of estrogen receptors in the human anterior cruciate ligament. This study further investigates the effects of 17 beta-estradiol on the cellular proliferation and collagen synthesis of fibroblasts derived from the rabbit anterior cruciate ligament. Fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis in response to near log concentrations of 17 beta-estradiol (at 0.0029, 0.025, 0.25, 2.5, and 25 ng/ml) were assessed by measuring [3H]thymidine and [14C]hydroxyproline incorporation, respectively. Collagen synthesis was significantly reduced with increasing local estradiol concentration (P < 0.001). Declining collagen synthesis was first noted at a 17 beta-estradiol concentration of 0.025 ng/ml. Within normal physiologic levels of estrogen (0.025 to 0.25 ng/ml), collagen synthesis was reduced by more than 40% of control, and at pharmacologic levels of 2.5 and 25 ng/ml, by more than 50% of control. A significant reduction of fibroblast proliferation was also observed with increasing estradiol concentrations (P = 0.023). Clinically, alterations in anterior cruciate ligament cellular metabolism caused by estrogen fluctuations may change the composition of the ligament, rendering it more susceptible to injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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