Title

Hepatic steroid sulfatase critically determines estrogenic activities of conjugated equine estrogens in human cells in vitro and in mice

DOI

10.1074/jbc.RA119.009181

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

8-9-2019

Publication Title

Journal of Biological Chemistry

Volume

294

Issue

32

First Page

12112

Last Page

12121

ISSN

219258

Abstract

Conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs), whose brand name is Premarin, are widely used as a hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) drug to manage postmenopausal symptoms in women. Extracted from pregnant mare urine, CEEs are composed of nearly a dozen estrogens existing in an inactive sulfated form. To determine whether the hepatic steroid sulfatase (STS) is a key contributor to the efficacy of CEEs in HRT, we performed estrogen-responsive element (ERE) reporter gene assay, real-time PCR, and UPLC-MS/MS to assess the STS-dependent and inflammation-responsive estrogenic activity of CEEs in HepG2 cells and human primary hepatocytes. Using liver-specific STS-expressing transgenic mice, we also evaluated the effect of STS on the estrogenic activity of CEEs in vivo. We observed that CEEs induce activity of the ERE reporter gene in an STS-dependent manner and that genetic or pharmacological inhibition of STS attenuates CEE estrogenic activity. In hepatocytes, inflammation enhanced CEE estrogenic activity by inducing STS gene expression. The inflammation-responsive estrogenic activity of CEEs, in turn, attenuated inflammation through the anti-inflammatory activity of the active estrogens. In vivo, transgenic mice with liver-specific STS expression exhibited markedly increased sensitivity to CEE-induced estrogenic activity in the uterus resulting from increased levels of liver-derived and circulating estrogens. Our results reveal a critical role of hepatic STS in mediating the hormone-replacing activity of CEEs. We propose that caution needs to be applied when Premarin is used in patients with chronic inflammatory liver diseases because such patients May have heightened sensitivity to CEEs due to the inflammatory induction of STS activity.

Open Access

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