Estrogen sulfotransferase is expressed in subcutaneous adipose tissue of obese humans in association with TNF-α and SOCS3

Rexford S. Ahima, Takara L. Stanley, Victor K. Khor, Markella V. Zanni, Steven K. Grinspoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Context and Objective: Estrogen sulfotransferase (EST) catalyzes the inactivation of estrone and estradiol in numerous tissues. Animal studies suggest that EST modulates glucose and lipid metabolism in adipose tissue, but it is unknown whether EST is expressed in human adipose tissue and, if so, how its expression relates to features of the metabolic syndrome. Design and Participants: Cross-sectional data from 16 obese men and women with metabolic dysregulation were collected as part of a larger randomized trial at an academic medical center. Outcome Measures: Participants underwent assessment of body composition, oral glucose tolerance testing, measurement of serum hormones and inflammatory markers, and sc fat biopsy to assess adipose expression of TNF-α, suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), leptin, adiponectin, and EST. Results: EST expression was detectable in sc adipose tissue from both men and women. Log10 EST mRNA was not significantly associated with age, race, sex or menopausal status, or circulating levels of estrogen or testosterone. In univariate analysis, log10 EST mRNA was significantly associated with visceral adipose tissue area (r = 0.57, P = 0.02) as well as adipose tissue expression of TNF-α (r = 0.94, P < 0.0001) and SOCS3 mRNA (r = 0.93, P < 0.0001). The associations between EST expression and TNF-α and SOCS3 held in multivariate modeling controlling for age, race, sex and menopausal status, and visceral adiposity. EST expression was not significantly associated with the adipose tissue levels of leptin or adiponectin expression. Conclusions: EST is expressed in abdominal sc adipose tissue of both obese males and females in association with expression of TNF-α and SOCS3, suggesting potential roles in inflammation. Further studies are needed to determine the specific metabolic roles of EST expression in human adipose tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1153-E1158
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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