Selective modulation of ER-β by estradiol and xenoestrogens in human breast cancer cell lines

V. Cappelletti, G. Saturno, P. Miodini, W. Körner, M. G. Daidone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last decades, substances with estrogenic activity have been dispersed into the environment. Xenoestrogens act by binding to estrogen receptors, ligand-regulated transcription factors, for which two subtypes have been described, ER-α and ER-β, which are often coexpressed at variable amounts in different tissues. We investigated variations in the expression of ER-α and ER-β mRNAs following treatment with four xenoestrogens (bisphenol A, 4-tert octylphenol, 2-hydroxybiphenyl, 4-hydroxybiphenyl) and with 17β-estradiol in estrogen-sensitive (T47D) and estrogen-insensitive (BT20) breast cancer cell lines. Although to a variable extent, both estradiol and the tested xenoestrogens increased the expression of ER-β mRNA, whereas a slight effect on ER-α was observed only in T47D cells. Upregulation of ER-β expression by estradiol and xenoestrogens was observed only in the presence of detectable ER-α protein levels. These findings indicate a regulatory role for ER-β in ER-α-mediated transcription and a role for ER-β in mediating xenoestrogen toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-576
Number of pages10
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Breast cancer
  • ER-α
  • ER-β
  • RT-PCR
  • Xenoestrogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Cell Biology


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