Sex-Dependent Role of Estrogen Sulfotransferase and Steroid Sulfatase in Metabolic Homeostasis

  • Wojciech G. Garbacz
  • Mengxi Jiang
  • Wen Xie
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1043)


Sulfonation and desulfation are two opposing processes that represent an important layer of regulation of estrogenic activity via ligand supplies. Enzymatic activities of families of enzymes, known as sulfotransferases and sulfatases, lead to structural and functional changes of the steroids, thyroids, xenobiotics, and neurotransmitters. Estrogen sulfotransferase (EST) and steroid sulfatase (STS) represent negative and positive regulation of the estrogen activity, respectively. This is because EST-mediated sulfation deactivates estrogens, whereas STS-mediated desulfation converts the inactive estrogen sulfates to active estrogens. In addition to the known functions of estrogens, EST and STS in reproductive processes, regulation of estrogens and other signal molecules especially at the local tissue levels has gained increased attention in the context of metabolic disease in recent years. EST expression is detectable in the subcutaneous adipose tissue in both obese women and men, and the expression of EST is markedly induced in the livers of rodent models of obesity and type 2 diabetes. STS was found to be upregulated in patients with chronic inflammatory liver diseases. Interestingly, the tissue distribution and the transcriptional regulation of EST and STS exhibit obvious sex and species specificity. EST ablation produces completely opposite metabolic phenotype in female and male obese mice. Adipogenesis is also differentially regulated by EST in murine and human adipocytes. This chapter focuses on the recent progress in our understanding of the expression and regulation EST and STS in the context of metabolic homeostasis.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Pharmacogenetics and Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Chemical BiologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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