The importance of estrogen cycles

contraception
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Oral contraceptives are implicated in slightly increasing breast cancer risk. This birth control method contains forms of estrogen, a hormone that binds ERalpha (estrogen receptor alpha), to alter the reproductive cycle. While much is known about estrogen signaling, few have researched how receptor homeostasis is maintained to ensure regular cycling.

Deborah Lannigan, Ph.D., and colleagues discovered that RSK2, a potential tumor-suppressor protein, is integral for ERalpha levels when comparing reproductive tissues of wild-type and RSK2 knockout mice.

Further analysis by mammary gland staining showed that RSK2 maintains receptor homeostasis, and therefore regular cycling, by reducing oxidative stress. These findings were supported in a cohort of women using , as they had lower levels of RSK2 than a control group.

In the journal Cell Reports, the researchers identified RSK2 as a key regulator of the estrogen receptor and suggested that its downregulation by contraceptive use can increase DNA damage, a common cause of cancer, via oxidative stress.


Explore further

Researchers discover key protein in endometrial cancer growth

More information: Katarzyna A. Ludwik et al. RSK2 Maintains Adult Estrogen Homeostasis by Inhibiting ERK1/2-Mediated Degradation of Estrogen Receptor Alpha, Cell Reports (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107931
Journal information: Cell Reports

Citation: The importance of estrogen cycles (2020, August 10) retrieved 31 October 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-importance-estrogen.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
2 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments