Estrogen receptor alpha (Esr1) regulates aromatase (Cyp19a1) expression in the mouse brain

Mehmet B. Yilmaz, Hong Zhao, David C. Brooks, Ibrahim V. Fenkci, Gonca Imir-Yenicesu, Erkut Attar, Eylul Akbal, Besime A. Kaynak, Serdar E. Bulun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Local estrogen production in the brain regulates critical functions including neuronal development, gonadotropin secretion and sexual behavior. In the mouse brain, a 36 kb distal promoter (l.f) regulates the Cyp19a1 gene that encodes aromatase, the key enzyme for estrogen biosynthesis. In vitro, promoter l.f interacts with estrogen receptor alpha (Esr1) to mediate Cyp19a1 mRNA expression and enzyme activity in mouse hypothalamic neuronal cell lines. The in vivo mechanisms that control mammalian brain aromatase expression during fetal and adult development, however, are not thoroughly understood. Our aim was to elucidate the basis of the in vivo connection between Esrl and Cyp19a1. METHODS: Pregnant mice were sacrificed at gestational days 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 19, 21 and the brain tissues of the fetuses were harvested along with five newborns at the age of postnatal day 2. Esr1 KO (female) were also sacrificed and their hypothalamus were excised out. Then both fetuses and adults RNA were isolated, reverse transcribed and amplified employing primers specific for Esrl and Cyp19a1 with Real time PCR. RESULTS: In the fetal mouse brain, Cyp19a1 mRNA levels are inversely correlated with estrogen receptor alpha (Esr1) mRNA levels in a temporal manner. Moreover, Cyp19a1 mRNA levels increased in the hypothalamus of estrogen receptor-alpha knockout female mice (Esr1KO). CONCLUSION: Taken together, our findings might indicate that Esr1 has crucial roles in the in vivo regulation of aromatase expression in the brain during fetal and adult life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-182
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroendocrinology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Aromatase
  • Esr1KO mouse
  • Estradiol
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Hypothalamus
  • Mouse brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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