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.
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