The effect of transdermal 17-beta-estradiol on glucose metabolism of postmenopausal women is evident during the oral but not the intravenous glucose administration

Maturitas. 1997 Dec 15;28(2):163-7. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5122(97)00064-9.


Objectives: To evaluate the effect of transdermal 17-beta-estradiol (50 micrograms/day) on glucose metabolism of postmenopausal women.

Study design: A frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT), to calculate insulin sensitivity (SI) and peripheral glucose utilization independent of insulin (SG), and an oral glucose tolerance test (75 g; OGTT), were performed in nine postmenopausal women prior to, and after 2 months of, treatment.

Results: Estradiol decreased insulin and increased the C-peptide/insulin ratio both during fasting (P < 0.02) and OGTT (insulin levels, P < 0.01; C-peptide/insulin ratio, P < 0.05), but not FSIGT. Glucose levels, C-peptide levels, SI and SG were not affected.

Conclusions: In spite of unmodified SI, the reduction of insulin levels and the increase of the C-peptide/insulin ratio, observed during fasting and OGTT, support a beneficial effect of estradiol on glucose metabolism. This effect probably requires the interplay of estradiol with gastrointestinal factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • C-Peptide / drug effects
  • C-Peptide / metabolism
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Glucose Tolerance Test / methods*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / drug effects*
  • Postmenopause / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Insulin
  • Estradiol
  • Glucose