Vol 67, No 6 (2016)
Review paper
Published online: 2016-09-27

open access

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The polymorphism of estrogen receptor α is important for metabolic consequences associated with menopause

Jarosław Pinkas, Mariusz Gujski, Anna Wierzbińska-Stępniak, Alfred Owoc, Iwona Bojar
Pubmed: 27828688
Endokrynol Pol 2016;67(6):608-614.


Menopause is associated with multiple health and metabolic consequences resulting from the decrease in estrogens level. Women at postmenopausal age are burdened with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, and the main cause of mortality in this group is ischemic heart disease. Estrogen deficiency is related, among other things, with frequent occurrence of dislipidemia, cessation of the beneficial effect of estrogens on the vascular wall, increase in body weight characterized by unfavourable redistribution of fatty tissue, with an increased amount of visceral fat and reduction of so-called non-fatty body mass.

Estrogens exert an effect on metabolism, mainly through the genomic mechanism. The presence of α and β estrogen receptors was found in many tissues and organs. Recently, attention was paid to the fact that the effect of estrogens action on tissues and organs may depend not only on distribution, but also on their polymorphic types. The article presents the latest approach to the problem of metabolic consequences resulting from menopause, according to the possessed α estrogen receptor polymorphism (ERα).

Genes encoding for ERα have many polymorphic variants, the most important of which from the clinical aspect are two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) – Xba1 and PvuII.

The review of literature indicates that ERα polymorphisms are of great importance with respect to the effect of estrogens on the functioning of the body of a woman after menopause, and may imply the development of many pathological states, including the prevention or development of metabolic disorders. Identifying ERα polymorphisms may be useful in case of estrogen therapy for menopausal women who may benefit from it.