Miller, Virginia M. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Last reviewed:December 2019
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The common name for the steroid hormone 17β-estradiol. Estrogen (Fig. 1) is synthesized from testosterone by aromatase [cytochrome P450 (CYP) 19A1] primarily in the ovary, testis, adrenal gland and adipose tissue and is metabolized by 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, sulfatases and sulfotransferases and cytochrome P-450 enzymes to biologically active estrone, estrone sulfate and catechol estrogens, respectively (Fig. 2). Androstenedione metabolized by aromatase in the liver, spleen and neuronal tissue is a source of estrone, which can be converted reversibly to estrogen (Fig. 2). In mammalian females, estrogen maintains secondary sex characters and organs, such as the mammary glands, uterus, vagina and Fallopian tubes. In mammalian males and females, estrogen also affects the function of nonreproductive organs, including the brain, heart and blood vessels, bone, immunological system, gastrointestinal tract, urogenital tract, skin, thyroid and liver, accounting, in part, for sex differences observed in the prevalence and symptomatology of some diseases. See also: Hormone; Steroid
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