Estrogen has rapid tissue-specific effects on rat bone

R. T. Turner, L. S. Kidder, M. Zhang, S. A. Harris, K. C. Westerlind, A. Maran, T. J. Wronski

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25 Scopus citations


The decrease in cancellous bone formation after estrogen treatment is generally thought to be coupled with a prior decrease in bone resorption. To test the possibility that estrogen has rapid tissue-specific actions on bone metabolism, we determined the time course (1-32 h) effects of diethylstilbestrol on steady-state mRNA levels for immediate-response genes, extracellular matrix proteins, and signaling peptides in the proximal tibial metaphysis and uterus by using Northern blot and RNase protection assays. The regulation of signaling peptides by estrogen, although tissue specific, followed a similar time course in bone and uterus. The observed rapid decreases in expression of insulin-like growth factor I, a growth factor associated with bone formation; decreases in mRNA levels for bone matrix proteins; evidence for reduced bone matrix synthesis; failure to detect rapid increases in mRNA levels for signaling peptides implicated in mediating the inhibitory effects of estrogen on bone resorption (interleukin-1 and -6) as well as other cytokines that can increase bone resorption; and the comparatively long duration of the bone remodeling cycle in rats indicate that estrogen can decrease bone formation by a mechanism that does not require a prior reduction in bone resorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1950-1958
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Bone formation
  • Cytokines
  • Estrogen receptors
  • Growth factors
  • MRNA levels
  • Matrix proteins


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