The endocrine role of estrogens on human male skeleton

Int J Endocrinol. 2015;2015:165215. doi: 10.1155/2015/165215. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

Abstract

Before the characterization of human and animal models of estrogen deficiency, estrogen action was confined in the context of the female bone. These interesting models uncovered a wide spectrum of unexpected estrogen actions on bone in males, allowing the formulation of an estrogen-centric theory useful to explain how sex steroids act on bone in men. Most of the principal physiological events that take place in the developing and mature male bone are now considered to be under the control of estrogen. Estrogen determines the acceleration of bone elongation at puberty, epiphyseal closure, harmonic skeletal proportions, the achievement of peak bone mass, and the maintenance of bone mass. Furthermore, it seems to crosstalk with androgen even in the determination of bone size, a more androgen-dependent phenomenon. At puberty, epiphyseal closure and growth arrest occur when a critical number of estrogens is reached. The same mechanism based on a critical threshold of serum estradiol seems to operate in men during adulthood for bone mass maintenance via the modulation of bone formation and resorption in men. This threshold should be better identified in-between the ranges of 15 and 25 pg/mL. Future basic and clinical research will optimize strategies for the management of bone diseases related to estrogen deficiency in men.

Publication types

  • Review