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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Preferential growth stimulation of mammary glands over uterine endometrium in female rats by a naturally occurring estradiol-17beta-fatty acid ester.

We hypothesize that the endogenously present lipoidal estrogen fatty acid esters may have a stronger mitogenic action in the fat-rich mammary tissues than in the uterus. To test this hypothesis, we compared the activity of estradiol-17beta-stearate (E(2)-17beta-S) with that of estradiol-17beta (E(2)) in stimulating the growth of mammary glandular cells versus the growth of uterine endometrial cells in ovariectomized female Sprague Dawley rats. Experimentally, an estimated 0.5 or 5 nmol of E(2)-17beta-S or E(2) was released daily to ovariectomized female rats through an Alzet pump implanted under the back skin of the animal for 10 or 23 days. The growth-stimulatory effect of E(2)-17beta-S and E(2) on mammary glandular cells was determined according to 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine labeling indices, and their effect on the uterus was determined by measuring both the 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine labeling index and the uterine wet weight. Our results showed that chronic treatment of ovariectomized female rats with 0.5 or 5 nmol/day E(2)-17beta-S for 10 or 23 days had a stronger stimulatory effect on mammary glandular cell proliferation than treatment with equimolar doses of E(2). In the uterus, however, E(2) was more active in stimulating the proliferation of uterine endometrial cells than E(2)-17beta-S at equimolar doses. Our results demonstrated, for the first time, that a naturally occurring estradiol-17beta-fatty acid ester has a differential, strong mitogenic effect in the fat-rich mammary tissues, and this effect was not observed with E(2). It is tempting to suggest that the fatty acid esters of the endogenous estrogens and their bioactive metabolites (e.g., 4-hydroxyestradiol and 16alpha-hydroxyestrone) may be of unique importance for stimulating cell growth and possibly also for inducing tumor formation in the fat-rich mammary tissues as compared with the uterus. More studies are warranted to test these ideas.[1]


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