Sex- and Tissue-Specific Role of Estrogen Sulfotransferase in Energy Homeostasis and Insulin Sensitivity

Endocrinology. 2017 Nov 1;158(11):4093-4104. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-00571.


Estrogen sulfotransferase catalyzes the sulfoconjugation and deactivation of estrogens. Previously, we showed that loss of Est in male ob/ob mice, but not in female ob/ob mice, exacerbated the diabetic phenotype, but the underlying mechanism was unclear. In this study, we show that transgenic reconstitution of Est in the adipose tissue, but not in the liver, attenuated diabetic phenotype in Est-deficient ob/ob mice (obe mice). Mechanistically, adipose reconstitution of Est in obe mice (oae mice) resulted in reduced local and systemic inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased energy expenditure. At the molecular level, adipose induction of lipocalin-2 (Lcn2) in oae males may have contributed to the inhibition of inflammation because the level of Lcn2 was negatively associated with tumor necrosis factor (Tnf) α expression, and treatment of differentiated adipocytes with Lcn2 antagonized Tnfα-responsive inhibition of insulin signaling. The metabolic benefit of adipose reconstitution of Est was sex specific, because adipose reconstitution of Est in obe females had little effect. Interestingly, despite their improved metabolic functions, obe male mice with reconstituted Est in their adipose tissue failed to ameliorate the impairment of the structure and function of the pancreatic islets. In summary, our study uncovers a crucial adipose- and male-specific role of Est in maintaining the whole-body energy homeostasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adiposity / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Obese
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Sex Factors
  • Sulfotransferases / physiology*


  • Sulfotransferases
  • estrone sulfotransferase