Sex-specific effects of estrogen and androgen on gene expression in human monocyte-derived osteoclasts

Jun Wang, Paula H. Stern*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Estrogen and androgen are both critical for the maintenance of bone, but the target cells, mechanisms, and responses could be sex-specific. To compare sex-specific actions of estrogen and androgen on osteoclasts, human peripheral blood mononuclear precursor cells from adult Caucasian males (n = 3) and females (n = 3) were differentiated into osteoclasts and then treated for 24 h with 17β-estradiol (10 nM) or testosterone (10 nM). Gene expression was studied with a custom designed qPCR-based array containing 94 target genes related to bone and hormone action. In untreated osteoclasts, 4 genes showed significant gender differences. 17β-estradiol significantly affected 12 genes in osteoclasts from females and 6 genes in osteoclasts from males. Fifteen of the 18 17β-estradiol-responsive genes were different in the cells from the two sexes; 2 genes affected by 17β-estradiol in both sexes were regulated oppositely in the two sexes. Testosterone significantly affected 6 genes in osteoclasts from females and 2 genes in osteoclasts from males; all except one were different in the two sexes. 17β-estradiol and testosterone largely affected different genes, suggesting that conversion of testosterone to 17β-estradiol had a limited role in the responses. The findings indicate that although osteoclasts from both sexes respond to 17β-estradiol and testosterone, the effects of both 17β-estradiol and testosterone differ in the two sexes, highlighting the importance of considering gender in the design of therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3714-3721
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • androgen
  • estrogen
  • gender
  • gene
  • osteoclast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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