Oestrogen receptor beta is expressed in adult human skeletal muscle both at the mRNA and protein level

Acta Physiol Scand. 2003 Dec;179(4):381-7. doi: 10.1046/j.0001-6772.2003.01186.x.


Aim: There are two known oestrogen receptors (ER), oestrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and the recently cloned oestrogen receptor beta (ERbeta). ERalpha mRNA has been detected in mouse, rat, bovine and human skeletal muscle. ERbeta mRNA has been detected in bovine skeletal muscle. To our knowledge, no study has investigated the expression of oestrogen receptor beta in human skeletal muscle. Therefore, the primary aim of the present investigation was to study ERbeta mRNA and protein expression in human skeletal muscle. In addition the ERalpha expression was also studied.

Methods: Muscle biopsies were taken from vastus lateralis in six healthy adults (three women and three men). mRNA expression was detected with real-time PCR (TaqMan) and protein localization by immunohistochemistry.

Results: A clear expression of ERalpha and ERbeta mRNA was seen in skeletal muscle in all subjects. The ERalpha mRNA expression was 180 fold higher compared with that of ERbeta mRNA. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated positive staining for ERbeta, but not for ERalpha, with localization to the nuclei of skeletal muscle fibres. On average, 70% of all nuclei were ERbeta-positive.

Conclusion: The present study shows for the first time ERbeta mRNA and protein expression in human skeletal muscle tissue in both males and females.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis*


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Estrogen