A replacement for hormone replacement?
Estradiol, a naturally occurring female sex hormone, supports skeletal health by balancing the ongoing processes of bone resorption and bone formation. When used as a component in estrogen replacement therapy for post-menopausal women, however, estradiol has been linked to increased risk of some kinds of cancers.
Working with rat-derived osteoblasts, cells that can build bone, School of Medicine scientists have isolated a substance that mimics estradiol but is functionally and chemically different, making it a possible new candidate for hormone replacement.
Studies in the laboratories of Thomas L. McCarthy, Ph.D., and Michael Centrella, Ph.D., of the Department of Surgery, identified the estrogen-like substance, which triggered several of the biochemical responses induced by estrogen receptor activation. They published their findings in the May 13 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
The scientists hope the osteoblast-derived molecule, which they labeled Ob-SERM, may be developed into a safer alternative to traditional estrogen replacement.