Estrogen (E) is critical for the maintenance of bone mass in both female and male mice and steroid receptor coactivator (SRC)-1 has been shown to be important for mediating E effects on bone, at least in female mice. In the present study, we defined the skeletal phenotype of male SRC-1 knock out (KO) mice and compared it with their female littermates. Further, to determine the role of SRC-1 in mediating effects of E on bone in male mice, we examined the skeletal effects of gonadectomy (gnx) with or without E replacement in male mice and placed these findings in the context of our previous studies in female SRC-1 KO mice. Analysis of a large group of male (WT, n=67; SRC-1 KO, n=56) and female (WT, n=66; SRC-1 KO, n=70) mice showed a significant decrease in trabecular volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) in SRC-1 KO mice compared to their WT littermates in both genders (male SRC-1 KO, 275+/-3 vs. WT, 295+/-3 mg/cm(3), P<0.001; female SRC-1 KO, 210+/-2 vs. WT, 221+/-2 mg/cm(3), P<0.001). Following gnx and E replacement (10 microg/kg/day), we previously demonstrated that SRC-1 KO female mice have a defect in E action in trabecular, but not in cortical bone. In contrast, we now demonstrate that the same dose of E administered to gnx'd male SRC-1 KO mice was sufficient to prevent trabecular bone loss in these mice. For example, in WT female mice, gnx followed by E replacement maintained spine BMD (1.2+/-3.4% vs. baseline) as compared to gnx without E replacement (-12.7+/-2.6%, P<0.001 vs. sham); this effect of E was absent in SRC-1 KO female mice. By contrast, the identical dose of E was equally effective in maintaining spine BMD in E-treated gnx'd male WT (-5.2+/-5.1% vs. baseline) and male SRC-1 KO (-5.4+/-5.3%) mice, respectively, as compared to gnx'd mice without E treatment (WT, -17.6+/-2.5%, P=0.02; SRC-1 KO, -28.6+/-2.6%, P<0.001 vs. sham). E treatment was effective in suppressing cancellous bone turnover in both gnx'd WT and SRC-1 KO male mice as determined by significant reductions in osteoblast and osteoclast numbers; however, in female mice, E treatment only suppressed bone turnover in WT but not in SRC-1 KO mice. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that loss of SRC-1 results in trabecular osteopenia in male and female mice, but in contrast to female mice, this is not due to any detectable resistance to E action in trabecular bone in male SRC-1 KO mice.