The effects of estradiol are modulated in a tissue-specific manner in mice with inducible inactivation of ERα after sexual maturation

Claes Ohlsson, Helen H. Farman, Karin L. Gustafsson, Jianyao Wu, Petra Henning, Sara H. Windahl, Klara Sjögren, Jan Åke Gustafsson, Sofia Movérare-Skrtic, Marie K. Lagerquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mouse models with lifelong inactivation of estrogen receptor-α (ERα) show that ERα is the main mediator of estrogenic effects in bone, thymus, uterus, and fat. However, ERα inactivation early in life may cause developmental effects that confound the adult phenotypes. To address the specific role of adult ERα expression for estrogenic effects in bone and other nonskeletal tissues, we established a tamoxifen-inducible ERα-inactivated model by crossing CAGG-Cre-ER and ERαflox/flox mice. Tamoxifen-induced ERα inactivation after sexual maturation substantially reduced ERα mRNA levels in cortical bone, trabecular bone, thymus, uterus, gonadal fat, and hypothalamus, in CAGG-Cre-ERαflox/flox (inducible ERαKO) compared with ERαflox/flox (control) mice. 17β-estradiol (E2) treatment increased trabecular bone volume fraction (BV/TV), cortical bone area, and uterine weight, while it reduced thymus weight and fat mass in ovariectomized control mice. The estrogenic responses were substantially reduced in inducible ERαKO mice compared with control mice on BV/TV (-67%), uterine weight (-94%), thymus weight (-70%), and gonadal fat mass (-94%). In contrast, the estrogenic response on cortical bone area was unaffected in inducible ERαKO compared with control mice. In conclusion, using an inducible ERαKO model, not confounded by lack of ERα during development, we demonstrate that ERα expression in sexually mature female mice is required for normal E2 responses in most, but not all, tissues. The finding that cortical, but not trabecular bone, responds normally to E2 treatment in inducible ERαKO mice strengthens the idea of cortical and trabecular bone being regulated by estrogen via different mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E646-E654
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Estrogen
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Inducible gene inactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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