The oxidative metabolism of estrogen modulates response to ERT/HRT in postmenopausal women

Reina C. Armamento-Villareal, Nicola Napoli, Thomas Klug, Roberto Civitelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have previously demonstrated that estrogen metabolism is one of the determinants of bone density after menopause. Increased hydroxylation to relatively nonestrogenic metabolites 2-hydroxyestrone (2OHE 1) and 2-methoxyestrone (2MeOE 1) was associated with low bone mineral density (BMD), while increased hydroxylation to the potent 16α- hydroxyestrone (16αOHE 1) and weakly estrogenic estriol (E 3) was associated with higher BMD. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that response to estrogen-hormone replacement therapy (ERT/HRT) is also related to individual differences in estrogen metabolism. Urinary estrogen metabolites were measured in 310 postmenopausal women using ESTRAMET enzyme immunoassay kit. Of these, 163 were on HRT with conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA, Premarin™ and Provera™) or ERT with conjugated equine estrogen alone (Premarin™), and 147 women not on ERT/HRT acted as comparison. Annual rates of BMD changes were calculated on a subset of 81 women on ERT/HRT who had more than one previous BMD measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Controlling for age, years since menopause (YSM), body mass index (BMI), waist to hip ratio, and smoking, we found that urinary estrogen metabolite levels were significantly higher in ERT/HRT-treated women compared to those not on ERT/HRT. Furthermore, women in the higher 2 tertiles of 2OHE 1 and 2OHE 1/ 16áOHE 1 ratio had positive increments in BMD compared to those in the lowest tertile who lost bone while on ERT/HRT. Thus, women with estrogen metabolism favoring the 2-hydroxylation pathway respond favorably to ERT/HRT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-688
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004


  • Bone densitometry
  • Estrogen
  • Menopause
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pharmacogenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hematology


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