Estrogen synthesis by osteoblast cell lines.

PMID 1396346


Estrogens play a central role in modulating bone turnover and in the postmenopausal female are formed almost exclusively by peripheral conversion of sex steroid precursors derived from the adrenals. In this study we have demonstrated that three human osteoblastic cell lines [HOS, U20S (HTB96) and MG63] possess the enzymes necessary for estrogen synthesis and metabolism. Aromatase, estradiol 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (reductive and oxidative) and estrone sulfatase activities were measured in whole cell monolayers over a 20 h period by isotopic assay techniques. Significant aromatase activity was detected in all three cell lines ranging from 1.8 +/- 0.2 fmol/20 h/10(6) cells (mean +/- S.D., n = 3) for MG63 cells to 51 +/- 1.5 fmol/20 h/10(6) cells for HOS cells. The specific aromatase inhibitor, 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (1 mumol/L) completely inhibited aromatase activity in these cells. Two of the cell lines, HOS and MG63, had significant estradiol 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity with oxidative (32.7 +/- 1.9 and 1068.4 +/- 40.2 fmol/20 h/10(6) cells respectively) predominant over reductive activity (1.6 +/- 0.4 and 38.7 +/- 1.8 fmol/20 h/10(6) cells). All three cell lines were able to hydrolyse estrone sulfate to estrone with activities ranging from 13.3 +/- 1.5 fmol/20 h/10(6) cells for U20S cells to 482.2 +/- 3.7 fmol/20 h/10(6) cells for MG63 cells. Since estrogen has been implicated as a critical factor in the modulation of bone resorption and formation, the regulation of skeletal estrogen production, particularly at the time of the menopause, is likely to be an important mechanism by which bone volume is determined in physiological and pathological states.

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