Ventral prostate and mammary gland phenotype in mice with complete deletion of the ERβ gene

Margaret Warner, Wan Fu Wu, Leticia Montanholi, Ivan Nalvarte, Per Antonson, Jan Ake Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Disagreements about the phenotype of estrogen receptor β (ERβ) knockout mouse, created by removing the DNA-binding domain of the ERβ gene or interruption of the gene with a neocassette (Oliver Smithies ERβ knockout mice [ERβOS−/]), prompted us to create an ERβ knockout mouse by deleting the ERβ gene with the use of CRISPR/Cas9 technology. We confirmed that the ERβ gene was eliminated from the mouse genome and that no ERβ mRNA or protein was detectable in tissues of this mouse. Overall the phenotype of the ventral prostate (VP) and mammary gland (MG) in ERβcrispr−/ mice was similar to, but more severe than, that in the ERβOS−/mice. In the VP of 6-mo-old ERβcrispr−/ mice there was epithelial hyperplasia, fibroplasia, inflammation, stromal overgrowth, and intraductal cancer-like lesions. This was accompanied by an increase in Ki67 and P63 and loss in DACH1 and PURα, two androgen receptor (AR) repressors. In the MG there was overexpression of estrogen receptor α and progesterone receptor, loss of collagen, increase in proliferation and expression of metalloproteases, and invasive epithelium. Surprisingly, by 18 mo of age, the number of hyperplastic foci was reduced, the ducts of the VP and MG became atrophic, and, in the VP, there was massive immune infiltration and massive desquamation of the luminal epithelial cells. These changes were coincident with reduced levels of androgens in males and estrogens in females. We conclude that ERβ is a tumor suppressor gene in the VP and MG where its loss increases the activity AR and ERα, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4902-4909
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020


  • Chemokine
  • Fibroplasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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