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      Estrogen Receptor-Alpha and Estrogen Receptor-Beta Are Present in the Human Growth Plate in Childhood and Adolescence, in Identical Distribution

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          Objective: To localize estrogen receptor-α (ER-α) and estrogen receptor-β (ER-β) within the growth plate and adjacent bony tissue of children in the prepubertal and pubertal age period. Methods: Tissue was taken during orthopedic surgery (epiphysiodesis) for correction of congenital or traumatic leg length difference in 2 prepubertal females and 2 adolescent males. Immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin-embedded or cryostat sections by using commercially available rabbit polyclonal antibodies for ER-α and ER-β. Results: Both ER-α and ER-β were detected within the growth plate in all sections investigated. Immunostaining was restricted to hypertrophic chondrocytes. In the bony tissue adjacent to the growth plate, osteoblasts stained positive for both ER-α and ER-β, whereas osteocytes and osteoclasts were negative. Staining with ER-α was mainly nuclear but some cells also showed cytoplasmic signals, while ER-β staining was predominantly cytoplasmic, only few nuclei stained positive. There was no difference in the local distribution of both ERs between tissue from prepubertal and pubertal patients. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the hypertrophic chondrocyte is the main target cell for estrogen action within the growth plate. The presence of ER in prepubertal children suggests that estrogens play a role in skeletal maturation under physiological conditions also in this age-group.

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          Most cited references 6

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          Effect of testosterone and estradiol in a man with aromatase deficiency.

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            Aromatase deficiency in male and female siblings caused by a novel mutation and the physiological role of estrogens

             A MORISHIMA (1995)
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              Estrogen receptor specificity in the regulation of skeletal growth and maturation in male mice.

              Androgens may regulate the male skeleton directly through a stimulation of androgen receptors or indirectly through aromatization of androgens into estrogen and, thereafter, through stimulation of estrogen receptors (ERs). The relative importance of ER subtypes in the regulation of the male skeleton was studied in ERalpha-knockout (ERKO), ERbeta-knockout (BERKO), and double ERalpha/beta-knockout (DERKO) mice. ERKO and DERKO, but not BERKO, demonstrated decreased longitudinal as well as radial skeletal growth associated with decreased serum levels of insulin-like growth factor I. Therefore, ERalpha, but not ERbeta, mediates important effects of estrogen in the skeleton of male mice during growth and maturation.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                23 August 2002
                : 58
                : 2
                : 99-103
                aInstitute of Histology and Embryology, University of Veterinary Medicine, bInstitute for Tumor Biology and Cancer Research, and cPediatric Department, University of Vienna, Austria
                64661 Horm Res 2002;58:99–103
                © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 2, References: 24, Pages: 5
                Original Paper


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