Estrogen and androgen receptors: regulators of fuel homeostasis and emerging targets for diabetes and obesity

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan;22(1):24-33. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2010.10.002. Epub 2010 Nov 5.


Because of increasing life expectancy, the contribution of age-related estrogen or androgen deficiency to obesity and type 2 diabetes will become a new therapeutic challenge. This review integrates current concepts on the mechanisms through which estrogen receptors (ERs) and androgen receptor (AR) regulate energy homeostasis in rodents and humans. In females, estrogen maintains energy homeostasis via ERα and ERβ, by suppressing energy intake and lipogenesis, enhancing energy expenditure, and ameliorating insulin secretion and sensitivity. In males, testosterone is converted to estrogen and maintains fuel homeostasis via ERs and AR, which share related functions to suppress adipose tissue accumulation and improve insulin sensitivity. We suggest that ERs and AR could be potential targets in the prevention of age-related metabolic disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / genetics
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, Estrogen