Estrogens and Body Weight Regulation in Men

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;1043:285-313. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-70178-3_14.


Our understanding of the metabolic roles of sex steroids in men has evolved substantially over recent decades. Whereas testosterone once was believed to contribute to metabolic risk in men, the importance of adequate androgen exposure for the maintenance of metabolic health has been demonstrated unequivocally. A growing body of evidence now also supports a critical role for estrogens in metabolic regulation in men. Recent data from clinical intervention studies indicate that estradiol may be a stronger determinant of adiposity than testosterone in men, and even short-term estradiol deprivation contributes to fat mass accrual. The following chapter will outline findings to date regarding the mechanisms, whereby estrogens contribute to the regulation of body weight and adiposity in men. It will present emergent clinical data as well as preclinical findings that reveal mechanistic insights into estrogen-mediated regulation of body composition. Findings in both males and females will be reviewed, to draw comparisons and to highlight knowledge gaps regarding estrogen action specifically in males. Finally, the clinical relevance of estrogen exposure in men will be discussed, particularly in the context of a rising global prevalence of obesity and expanding clinical use of sex steroid-based therapies in men.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity* / drug effects
  • Adiposity* / genetics
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Body Weight* / drug effects
  • Body Weight* / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism* / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism* / genetics
  • Estrogens / metabolism*
  • Estrogens / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Sex Factors


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Estrogens