Identification of oestrogen receptors and oestrogen receptor mRNA in human adipose tissue

S B Pedersen, P S Hansen, S Lund, P H Andersen, A Odgaard, B Richelsen


The distribution of adipose tissue has a major impact on the morbidity and mortality associated with obesity. Furthermore, the distribution of adipose tissue seems to be regulated by sex hormones. Controversy exists over whether the effects of sex hormones (oestrogen and testosterone) on human adipose tissue are an indirect or a direct effect as contradictory results have been obtained when investigating the existence of these receptors in human adipose tissue. In the present study the authors reinvestigated the possible existence of oestrogen receptors (ERs) in human adipose tissue. Human adipocytes from both genders were found to contain specific oestrogen binding sites determined by ligand-binding techniques. The binding protein had a molecular weight of 65 kD (which is similar to that of the ER found elsewhere) and it was found that adipocytes contained mRNA encoding the ER. Moreover, human preadipocytes had no oestrogen-binding capacity and did not possess mRNA encoding the ER. Finally, the authors detected regional differences in receptor density. Women had an equal oestrogen-binding capacity in adipose tissue from the subcutaneous abdominal and the visceral depot, whereas men had twice as high oestrogen-binding capacity in subcutaneous adipose tissue compared with adipose tissue in the visceral fat depot. These findings indicate that mature human adipocytes possess ERs and thus, might be an oestrogen-responsive tissue and that oestrogen may be acting directly in mature adipocytes via its specific receptor. Human preadipocytes, however, seemed not to be an oestrogen-responsive tissue. Finally, preliminary data suggest that there might be differences in ER densities in different fat depots.

TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)262-9
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - apr. 1996
Udgivet eksterntJa


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