Expression of both oestrogen receptor alpha and beta in human skeletal muscle tissue

  • A. WiikEmail author
  • M. Ekman
  • O. Johansson
  • E. Jansson
  • M. Esbjörnsson
Original Paper


There are two oestrogen receptors (ERs), ERα and ERβ. ERβ protein is expressed in human skeletal muscle in the nuclei of both myofibres and endothelial cells, whether ERα protein is present in this tissue is unknown. We studied the expression of ERα protein in human skeletal muscle biopsies taken from vastus lateralis from four men, four women, two children and two postmenopausal women. Immunohistochemistry was used to determine the proportions of nuclei that were positively stained for ERα, the proportion of ERα-positive nuclei located in the muscle fibres and in capillaries and to test for possible co-expression of ERα and ERβ. Both ERs were expressed in all subjects. Of all nuclei, 63% stained for ERα with no sex difference. ERα was localised both in myofibres and in endothelial cells of the capillaries, 25% of the ERα-positive nuclei were located in the capillaries. ERα and ERβ were generally expressed in the same nuclei. The present study shows for the first time the expression of ERα protein in human skeletal muscle independently of age and sex. These results might improve understanding of the physiological role of oestrogen in human skeletal muscle and raise new questions about activation of ERs in skeletal muscle.


Age Capillaries Collagen IV Immunohistochemistry Sex 



This study was supported by grants from the Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports, Swedish Research Council (14295), Centre for Gender Medicine, Åke Wibergs Stiftelse, Magnus Bergvalls Stiftelse, Stiftelsen Tornspiran and The Cancer and Allergy Foundation (Cancer- och Allergifonden). The authors wish to acknowledge Associate Professor Margaret Warner for providing the ERβ 503 antibody. We also express our gratitude to Dr Monica Dahlström and Emeritus Professor Lennart Kaijser for their work in the study on children and to Professor Britth-Marie Landgren for her involvement in the project with postmenopausal women.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Wiik
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Ekman
    • 2
  • O. Johansson
    • 2
  • E. Jansson
    • 1
  • M. Esbjörnsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical PhysiologyKarolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital HuddingeStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Neuroscience, The Experimental Dermatology Unit Karolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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