Suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) are important negative regulators of cytokine action. We recently reported that estrogen stimulates SOCS-2 expression and inhibits GH signaling in kidney cells. The effects of estrogen on SOCS expression in other tissues are unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate in vivo and in vitro whether estrogen affected SOCS expression in the liver, a major target organ of GH. The in vivo hepatic effects of estrogen on ovariectomized mice lacking estrogen receptor (ER)-α, ERβ, or both and their wild-type littermates were examined by DNA microarray analysis. In vitro, the effects of estrogen on SOCS expression in human hepatoma cells were examined by reverse transcription quantitative PCB. Long-term (3 wk) estrogen treatment induced a 2- to 3-fold increase in hepatic expression of SOCS-2 and -3 in wild-type and ERβ knockout mice but not in those lacking ERα or both ER subtypes. Short-term treatment (at 24 h) increased the mRNA level of SOCS-3 but not SOCS-2. In cultured hepatoma cells, estrogen increased SOCS-2 and -3 mRNA levels by 2-fold in a time- and dose-dependent manner (P < 0.05). Estrogen induced murine SOCS-3 promoter activity by 2-fold (P < 0.05) in constructs containing a region between nucleotides -1862 and -855. Moreover, estrogen and GH had additive effects on the SOCS-3 promoter activity. In summary, estrogen, via ERα, up-regulated hepatic expression of SOCS-2 and -3, probably through transcriptional activation. This indicates a novel mechanism of estrogen regulation of cytokine action.
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