The hormone estradiol-17-beta is a key reproductive hormone. However, it also contributes to the regulation of energy balance and body weight. As a result, estrogen deficiency following menopause is associated with an increased probability of obesity and increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
A team of researchers, led by Jon Levine, at Northwestern University, Evanston, has now generated new insight into the mechanisms by which ER-alpha signaling maintains normal energy balance. Specifically, the team found that nonclassical ER-alpha signaling is key to the effects of estradiol-17-beta on energy balance.
These data lead them to suggest that it might be possible to develop drugs that selectively activate nonclassical ER-alpha signaling to reduce the risks of obesity and metabolic disturbances in postmenopausal women.
The research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
- Cheryl J. Park, Zhen Zhao, Christine Glidewell-Kenney, Milos Lazic, Pierre Chambon, Andrιe Krust, Jeffrey Weiss, Deborah J. Clegg, Andrea Dunaif, J. Larry Jameson, Jon E. Levine. Genetic rescue of nonclassical ER-alpha signaling normalizes energy balance in obese Er-alpha-null mutant mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2011; DOI: 10.1172/JCI41702
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