Dose-response effects of 2-methoxyestradiol on estrogen target tissues in the ovariectomized rat

Endocrinology. 2003 Mar;144(3):785-92. doi: 10.1210/en.2002-220632.


In three experiments, we evaluated the pharmacological effects of 2-methoxyestradiol (2ME(2)) on several estrogen target tissues. Experiment 1: we gavaged recently ovariectomized (OVX) 9.5-wk-old rats with 2ME(2) at doses of 0, 0.1, 1, 4, 20, and 75 mg/kg in a 21-d dose-response study. 2ME(2) reduced body weight and serum cholesterol, increased uterine weight and epithelial cell height, and inhibited longitudinal and radial bone growth compared with values in the untreated OVX rat. All doses of 2ME(2) maintained cancellous bone mass at the baseline level, the lowest effective dose being 20-fold less than a uterotrophic dose. Experiment 2: in an 8-wk experiment in adult OVX rats, a nonuterotrophic dose of 2ME(2) (4 mg/kg x d) suppressed body weight gain, inhibited bone formation in cancellous bone and partially prevented bone loss in the tibial metaphysis. Experiment 3: in weanling rats, ICI 182,780 did not antagonize the effect of 2ME(2). We conclude that 2ME(2) antagonizes the skeletal changes that follow OVX at doses that have minimal or no effects in the uterus in both young and adult rats; 2ME(2) does not appear to act via estrogen receptors and is active on bone at doses well below those required for tumor suppression in mice. 2ME(2), through a novel pathway, may be a useful alternative to conventional hormone replacement therapy for prevention of postmenopausal bone loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 2-Methoxyestradiol
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bone Development / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage*
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Ovariectomy*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects
  • Receptors, Estrogen / physiology
  • Uterus / drug effects*
  • Weaning


  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Estradiol
  • 2-Methoxyestradiol
  • Cholesterol