Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 355, Issue 1–2, pp 35–45

Methylation of the promoter A of estrogen receptor alpha gene in hBMSC and osteoblasts and its correlation with homocysteine


DOI: 10.1007/s11010-011-0836-z

Cite this article as:
Lv, H., Ma, X., Che, T. et al. Mol Cell Biochem (2011) 355: 35. doi:10.1007/s11010-011-0836-z


Recent studies have shown that adult osteoporosis could be induced by ageing and estrogen deficiency and homocysteine (Hcy) is an independent risk factor of fracture in osteoporosis patients. In this study, we found hypermethylation of the promoter A region in the estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) gene, and methylation in 70.59% of 68 post-menopausal women, whose methylation degree was significantly higher than the pre-menopausal women (P < 0.05). Their methylation frequency was detected only 26.67% in 30 subjects. An obvious correlation between the degree of methylation in ERα gene and the level of Hcy (r = 0.809, P < 0.05) was explored. The cultured human bone marrow strom cells (hBMSC) and osteoblasts treated by Hcy resulted in de novo methylation of the promoter A region in the ERα gene and suppressed proliferation and differentiation with time and dose dependence. Meanwhile, ERα gene mRNA in osteoblast-like cells treated by Hcy was much lower than the control group (P < 0.05). Thus, both in vivo and in vitro data showed that Hcy could promote hypermethylation of the promoter A region and reduce ERα mRNA transcription, which may be an important mechanism for the pathogenesis of postmenopausal osteoporosis.


Homocysteine Estrogen receptor alpha DNA methylation Osteoporosis 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haihong Lv
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaolan Ma
    • 3
  • Tuanjie Che
    • 4
  • Yirong Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Life SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.The First Hospital of Lanzhou UniversityLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.The First Affiliated Hospital of Medical School of Zhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Baiyuan Gene Technology Co LtdLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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