International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. XCVII. G Protein-Coupled Estrogen Receptor and Its Pharmacologic Modulators

Pharmacol Rev. 2015 Jul;67(3):505-40. doi: 10.1124/pr.114.009712.


Estrogens are critical mediators of multiple and diverse physiologic effects throughout the body in both sexes, including the reproductive, cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. As such, alterations in estrogen function play important roles in many diseases and pathophysiological conditions (including cancer), exemplified by the lower prevalence of many diseases in premenopausal women. Estrogens mediate their effects through multiple cellular receptors, including the nuclear receptor family (ERα and ERβ) and the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family (GPR30/G protein-coupled estrogen receptor [GPER]). Although both receptor families can initiate rapid cell signaling and transcriptional regulation, the nuclear receptors are traditionally associated with regulating gene expression, whereas GPCRs are recognized as mediating rapid cellular signaling. Estrogen-activated pathways are not only the target of multiple therapeutic agents (e.g., tamoxifen, fulvestrant, raloxifene, and aromatase inhibitors) but are also affected by a plethora of phyto- and xeno-estrogens (e.g., genistein, coumestrol, bisphenol A, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). Because of the existence of multiple estrogen receptors with overlapping ligand specificities, expression patterns, and signaling pathways, the roles of the individual receptors with respect to the diverse array of endogenous and exogenous ligands have been challenging to ascertain. The identification of GPER-selective ligands however has led to a much greater understanding of the roles of this receptor in normal physiology and disease as well as its interactions with the classic estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ and their signaling pathways. In this review, we describe the history and characterization of GPER over the past 15 years focusing on the pharmacology of steroidal and nonsteroidal compounds that have been employed to unravel the biology of this most recently recognized estrogen receptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estrogens / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / drug effects*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Steroids / pharmacology


  • Estrogens
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Steroids