Brief report: Aromatase expression in uterine leiomyomata is regulated primarily by proximal promoters I.3/II

Ayse Gonca Imir, Zhihong Lin, Ping Yin, Santanu Deb, Bertan Yilmaz, Meral Cetin, Ali Cetin, Serdar E. Bulun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Context: Uterine leiomyomata are common tumors that cause irregular uterine bleeding and pregnancy loss and depend on estrogen for growth. Aromatase catalyzes the conversion of androgens to estrogens. Aromatase expression is regulated via alternatively used promoters in the placenta (I.1 and I.2a), fat (I.4, I.3, and II), bone (I.6), and gonads (II). A prostaglandin E 2/cAMP-dependent pathway regulates coordinately the proximal promoters I.3/II, whereas glucocorticoids and cytokines regulate the distal promoter I.4. Use of each promoter gives rise to a population of aromatase mRNA species with unique 5′-untranslated regions (5′-UTRs). Uterine leiomyoma tissue, but not normal myometrium, overexpresses aromatase leading to estrogen-stimulated cell proliferation. Aromatase inhibitor treatment shrank uterine leiomyomata in a few women. Objective and Design: Promoter I.4 was reported to regulate aromatase expression in uterine leiomyomata from a group of Japanese women. Here, we used two independent techniques to identify the promoters that regulate aromatase expression in uterine leiomyomata (n = 30) from 23 African-American, Hispanic, and white women. Results: Rapid amplification of 5′-cDNA ends of aromatase mRNA species revealed the following distribution of promoter usage in leiomyomata: promoters I.3/II, 61.5%; I.2a, 15.4%; I.6, 15.4%; and I.4, 7.7%. Real-time PCR, which quantifies mRNA species with promoterspecific 5′-UTRs, revealed the following distribution for each 5′-UTR as a fraction of total aromatase mRNA: I.3/II, 69.6%; I.4, 7.3%; and other promoters, 23.1%. Conclusions: The primary in vivo aromatase promoter in leiomyoma tissues in non-Asian U.S. women is the prostaglandin E2/cAMPresponsive I.3/II region. Alternative signals may stimulate aromatase expression that is a common biological phenotype in uterine leiomyomata.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1979-1982
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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