Role of aromatase in endometrial disease

Serdar E. Bulun*, Sijun Yang, Zongjuan Fang, Bilgin Gurates, Mitsutoshi Tamura, Jianfeng Zhou, Siby Sebastian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Aromatase is the key enzyme for estrogen biosynthesis. It is normally expressed in the human ovary, skin, adipose tissue and brain. Aromatase activity is not detectable in normal endometrium. In contrast, aromatase is expressed aberrantly in endometriosis and is stimulated by PGE2. This results in local production of estrogen, which induces PGE2 formation and establishes a positive feedback cycle. Another abnormality in endometriosis, i.e. deficient 17β-hyroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD) type 2 expression, impairs the inactivation of estradiol to estrone. These molecular aberrations collectively favor accumulation of increasing quantities of estradiol and PGE2 in endometriosis. The clinical relevance of these findings was exemplified by the successful treatment of an unusually aggressive case of post-menopausal endometriosis using an aromatase inhibitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-5
StatePublished - 2001


  • 17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2
  • Aromatase
  • Aromatase inhibitor
  • Endometriosis
  • Endometrium
  • Estrogen
  • Estrogen biosynthesis
  • Estrogen metabolism
  • Osteoporosis
  • Progesterone
  • Steroidogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cell Biology


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