Increased 2-hydroxylation of estrogen is associated with lower body fat and increased lean body mass in postmenopausal women

Maturitas. 2012 May;72(1):66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.02.002. Epub 2012 Mar 3.


Menopause is associated with changes in bone, muscle and fat mass. The importance of postmenopausal estrogen metabolism in bone health has been established. However, its relationship to body composition in postmenopausal women remains undetermined. The objective of this study is to determine the association between estrogen metabolism and body composition in postmenopausal women. This is a cross sectional study of 97 postmenopausal Caucasian women, 49-80 y.o., ≥1 year from the last normal menstrual period or those who have had oophorectomy. Inactive [2-hydroxyestrone (2OHE(1))] and active [16α-hydroxyestrone (16α-OHE(1))] urinary metabolites of estrogen were measured by ELISA. The whole and regional body composition was measured by DXA. We have found that both 2OHE(1), and 2OHE(1)/16α-OHE(1) ratio were negatively correlated with % total fat, and % truncal fat but positively correlated with % total lean mass. Comparing the fat and lean parameters of body composition according to tertiles of 2OHE(1) and 2OHE(1)/16αOHE(1) ratio showed that subjects in the lowest tertiles, had the highest % total fat, and % truncal fat and the lowest % total lean mass. Multiple regression analysis also showed 2OHE(1) and calcium intake as statistically significant predictors of all body composition parameters. In conclusion, in postmenopausal women, an increase in the metabolism of estrogen towards the inactive metabolites is associated with lower body fat and higher lean mass than those with predominance of the metabolism towards the active metabolites.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Fluid Compartments / parasitology*
  • Body Fluid Compartments / physiology*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Estrogens / metabolism*
  • Estrogens / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyestrones / urine*
  • Hydroxylation
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovariectomy
  • Postmenopause / physiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • White People


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Estrogens
  • Hydroxyestrones