Estrogens have profound effects on bone metabolism. Cellular responses to estrogens are mediated by estrogen receptors (ERs) which belong to the nuclear receptor superfamily. Two estrogen receptors, ERalpha and ERbeta, have been cloned. Previously expression of ERalpha has been shown in osteoblasts. Here we demonstrate that the transcript for ERbeta can be detected in the human osteosarcoma cell lines (MG-63 and SaOS-2) and in cultured human osteoblast-like cells. We also show that ERbeta protein is present in nuclear extracts from these cells. Furthermore, ERbeta immunoreactivity is found in sections of murine and human bone. Murine and human osteoblast and osteocyte nuclei are immunoreactive for ERbeta. Osteoclasts are also ERbeta immunoreactive but the staining is mainly cytoplasmic. The present study demonstrates that ERbeta is present in all the cellular compartments involved in bone formation and bone resorption, both in human and in murine bone tissue.