Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 66, Issue 24, pp 3873–3894 | Cite as

Regulation of estrogen receptor beta activity and implications in health and disease

  • Elin Swedenborg
  • Krista A. Power
  • Wen Cai
  • Ingemar Pongratz
  • Joëlle RüeggEmail author


Together with the estrogen receptor (ER) alpha, estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) mediates many of the physiological effects of estrogens. As ERβ is crucially involved in a variety of important physiological processes, its activity should be tightly regulated. ERβ regulation is achieved by hormone binding as well as by posttranslational modifications of the receptor. Furthermore, ERβ expression levels are under circadian control and can be regulated by DNA methylation of the ERβ promoter region. There are also a number of factors that can interfere with ERβ activity, such as phytoestrogens, endocrine disruptive chemicals, and growth factors. In this article, we outline different mechanisms of ERβ regulation and how they are implicated in various diseases. We also discuss how these insights might help to specifically target ERβ in drug design.


Estrogen receptor beta Phytoestrogens Endocrine disruption Circadian regulation DNA methylation Cancer Diabetes type 2 



The authors are supported by the European Commission funded CASCADE Network of Excellence, the European Commission funded CRESCENDO project, the Swiss National Research Foundation, and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elin Swedenborg
    • 1
  • Krista A. Power
    • 2
  • Wen Cai
    • 1
  • Ingemar Pongratz
    • 1
  • Joëlle Rüegg
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biosciences and NutritionKarolinska InstituteHuddingeSweden
  2. 2.Guelph Food Research CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaGuelphCanada

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