Synthesis of catechol estrogens by human uterus and leiomyoma

Steroids. 1981 Feb;37(2):195-203. doi: 10.1016/s0039-128x(81)80017-7.


Homogenates of human endometrial, myometrial and leiomyoma tissues were incubated with (2,4,6,7-3H)-estradiol and tritiated catechol estrogens were isolated and identified. Though 2- and 4-hydroxylations were about the same in endometrium, 4-hydroxylation was two to four fold higher than 2-hydroxylation in myometrium and leiomyoma. However, endometrium showed greater capacity to form both 2- and 4-hydroxyestrogens than the other two tissues. Both 2- and 4-hydroxylations were significantly less than in myometrium. In view of the reports indicating that inhibitors of catechol 0-methyl transferase (COMT) might act as antineoplastic agents due to their interference with t-RNA methylases and since catechol estrogens inhibit COMT, the present results suggest that endogenous synthesis of catechol estrogens may play an important role in the pathophysiology of uterine leiomyoma.

MeSH terms

  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases*
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Catechols / biosynthesis*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1
  • Endometrium / metabolism
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estrogens / biosynthesis*
  • Estrogens, Catechol
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leiomyoma / metabolism*
  • Myometrium / metabolism
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Tritium
  • Uterine Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Uterus / metabolism*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Catechols
  • Estrogens
  • Estrogens, Catechol
  • Tritium
  • Estradiol
  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP1B1 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1
  • estrogen 2-hydroxylase