Study shows loss of key estrogen regulator may lead to metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis

UCLA researchers demonstrated that loss of a key protein that regulates estrogen and immune activity in the body could lead to aspects of metabolic syndrome, a combination of conditions that can cause Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and cancer. Called estrogen receptor alpha, this protein is critical in regulating immune system activity such as helping cells suppress inflammation and gobble-up debris.

This early preclinical study in demonstrated that removing estrogen regulator alpha alone was enough to reduce the immune system's protective process and promote increased fat accumulation and accelerate atherosclerosis development. Without this protein, the mice developed additional aspects of metabolic syndrome such as , and inflammation.

This estrogen receptor is also expressed in many other non-reproductive tissues such as fat, muscle and liver and can also act independent of the . However, little is known about the receptor's actions in these tissues that are involved in blood-sugar regulation, which plays an integral role in metabolic syndrome.

Researchers hope that these early findings may provide insight into the development of metabolic syndrome, which affects millions of people worldwide. A better understanding of the activity of this receptor may lead to improved future therapies.

"Impairment of this receptor's function could also play a role in the heightened incidence of being seen in younger women," said senior author Andrea Hevener, Ph.D., associate professor of endocrinology, diabetes and hypertension, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We may find that action of this estrogen receptor is just as important as that of circulating estrogen, which is key in multiple therapies such as HRT."

Hevener notes that her team will next study the status of this estrogen receptor in pre and postmenopausal women.

More information: The study will appear in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) during the week of Sept. 5.

Provided by University of California - Los Angeles

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Liver, dietary proteins key in fertility

Feb 01, 2011

When you think about organs with an important role in reproduction, the liver most likely doesn't spring to mind. But a new report in the February issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, shows that estrogen recept ...

Revealing estrogen's secret role in obesity

Aug 20, 2007

New research on the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen in the brain lend credence to what many women have suspected about the hormonal changes that accompany aging: Menopause can make you fat.

Fertile? Not Without the Brain

Oct 20, 2006

There are many causes of infertility. The fact that nerve cells can also play a role is little known. The hormone estrogen regulates the activity of neurons that give the starting signal for ovulation. Collaborating with ...

Improved estrogen reception may sharpen fuzzy memory

Jul 29, 2008

Estrogen treatments may sharpen mental performance in women with certain medical conditions, but University of Florida researchers suggest that recharging a naturally occurring estrogen receptor in the brain may also clear ...

Recommended for you

Can robots help stop the Ebola outbreak?

8 hours ago

The US military has enlisted a new germ-killing weapon in the fight against Ebola—a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light.

New bird flu case in Germany

8 hours ago

A worrying new strain of bird flu has been observed for the first time in a wild bird in northern Germany, the agriculture ministry said Saturday.

Mali announces new Ebola case

Nov 22, 2014

Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako.

Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar: WHO

Nov 22, 2014

An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.