Osteoporosis International

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 365–372 | Cite as

Sex hormones and their receptors in bone homeostasis: insights from genetically modified mouse models



In this review, we summarize available data regarding bone phenotypes in estrogen receptors α and β, androgen receptor, and aromatase enzyme-deficient mice. We examine sex differences in the trabecular and cortical bone compartments and we discuss these findings in relation to known estrogen effects in humans. We also report how estrogen influences the responsiveness of the skeleton to exercise. Although uncertainties remain, it is clear that both estrogen and androgen are important for both male and female skeleton. Estrogen receptor α mainly through its classical signaling pathway is particularly important for the male mice skeleton while both estrogen receptors α and β are required for female mice skeleton. These deletions also induce major hormonal alterations themselves impacting on bone metabolism. More investigations are needed to fully understand the respective role of all these receptors in periosteal expansion in both sexes and the way they affect the mechanical sensitivity of the periosteum.


Androgen Androgen receptor Aromatase Estrogen Estrogen receptors Mice model 



Work in LV’s laboratory is supported by INSERM and Jean Monnet University of St-Etienne. Work in JMV's laboratory is funded by Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (grant GENOPAT-012), Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (Grant 1138) and Ligue contre le Cancer.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de LyonSt-EtienneFrance
  2. 2.Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de LyonUniversité de LyonLyonFrance

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