Extra-gonadal sites of estrogen biosynthesis and function

Radwa Barakat, Oliver Oakley, Heehyen Kim, Jooyoung Jin, Che Myong Jay Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Estrogens are the key hormones regulating the development and function of reproductive organs in all vertebrates. Recent evidence indicates that estrogens play important roles in the immune system, cancer development, and other critical biological processes related to human well-being. Obviously, the gonads (ovary and testis) are the primary sites of estrogen synthesis, but estrogens synthesized in extra-gonadal sites play an equally important role in controlling biological activities. Understanding non-gonadal sites of estrogen synthesis and function is crucial and will lead to therapeutic interventions targeting estrogen signaling in disease prevention and treatment. Developing a rationale targeting strategy remains challenging because knowledge of extra-gonadal biosynthesis of estrogens, and the mechanism by which estrogen activity is exerted, is very limited. In this review, we will summarize recent discoveries of extra-gonadal sites of estrogen biosynthesis and their local functions and discuss the significance of the most recent novel discovery of intestinal estrogen biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-496
Number of pages9
JournalBMB Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2016


  • Estrogen
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Extra-gonadal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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