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Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology

, 3:51

First Online: 27 September 2005Received: 07 June 2005Accepted: 27 September 2005


Evidence supporting a role for estrogen in male reproductive tract development and function has been collected from rodents and humans. These studies fall into three categories: i localization of aromatase and the target protein for estrogen ER-alpha and ER-beta in tissues of the reproductive tract; ii analysis of testicular phenotypes in transgenic mice deficient in aromatase, ER-alpha and-or ER-beta gene; and, iii investigation of the effects of environmental chemicals on male reproduction. Estrogen is thought to have a regulatory role in the testis because estrogen biosynthesis occurs in testicular cells and the absence of ERs caused adverse effects on spermatogenesis and steroidogenesis. Moreover, several chemicals that are present in the environment, designated xenoestrogens because they have the ability to bind and activate ERs, are known to affect testicular gene expression. However, studies of estrogen action are confounded by a number of factors, including the inability to dissociate estrogen-induced activity in the hypothalamus and pituitary from action occurring directly in the testis and expression of more than one ER subtype in estrogen-sensitive tissues. Use of tissue-specific knockout animals and administration of antiestrogens and-or aromatase inhibitors in vivo may generate additional data to advance our understanding of estrogen and estrogen receptor biology in the developing and mature testis.

AbbreviationsERestrogen receptor



HPThypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis

GnRHgonadotropin releasing hormone

FSHfollicle stimulating hormone

LHluteinizing hormone

EREestrogen response elements

IGFinsulin growth factor

EGFepidermal growth factor

ARKOaromatase knockout mice

αERKOERα knockout mice

βERKOERβ knockout mice, αβERKO mice, mice deficient in both ERα and ERβ

BPAbisphenol A.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1477-7827-3-51 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Benson T Akingbemi


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