Interactions of the human cytosolic sulfotransferases and steroid sulfatase in the metabolism of tibolone and raloxifene

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. Nov-Dec 2007;107(3-5):202-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2007.03.046. Epub 2007 Jun 26.


Sulfation is important in the metabolism and inactivation of steroidal compounds and hormone replacement therapeutic (HRT) agents in human tissues. Although generally inactive, many steroid sulfates are hydrolyzed to their active forms by sulfatase activity. Therefore, the specific sulfotransferase (SULT) isoforms and the levels of steroid sulfatase (STS) activity in tissues are important in regulating the activity of steroidal and HRT compounds. Tibolone (Tib) is metabolized to three active metabolites and all four compounds are readily sulfated. Tib and the Delta4-isomer are sulfated at the 17beta-OH group by SULT2A1 and the 17-sulfates are resistant to hydrolysis by human placental STS. 3alpha-OH and 3beta-OH Tib can form both 3- and 17-monosulfates as well as disulfates. Only the 3beta-sulfates are susceptible to STS hydrolysis. Raloxifene monosulfation was catalyzed by at least seven SULT isoforms and SULT1E1 also synthesizes raloxifene disulfate. SULT1E1 forms both monosulfates in a ratio of approximately 8:1 with the more abundant monosulfate migrating on HPLC identical to the SULT2A1 synthesized monosulfate. The raloxifene monosulfate formed by both SULT isoforms is sensitive to STS hydrolysis whereas the low abundance monosulfate formed by SULT1E1 is resistant. The benzothiophene sulfates of raloxifene and arzoxifene were hydrolyzed by STS whereas the raloxifene 4'-phenolic sulfate was resistant. These results indicate that tissue specific expression of SULT isoforms and STS could be important in the inactivation and regeneration of the active forms of HRT agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cytosol / enzymology*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Norpregnenes / metabolism*
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride / metabolism*
  • Steryl-Sulfatase / metabolism*
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Norpregnenes
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride
  • Sulfotransferases
  • Steryl-Sulfatase
  • tibolone