Indexed on: 20 Jul '02Published on: 20 Jul '02Published in: Endocrinology
Estrogen, if it is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, may overflow into the systemic circulation in the case of increased portal-systemic shunting. This idea is in accord with a significant step-up in serum estradiol (E2) concentration in the portal vein of rats, compared with that in the artery. Gene expression of aromatase, estrogen synthetase, was demonstrated by RT-PCR in the gastric mucosa of male and female adult rats, equivalent to that in the ovary. Aromatase activity and production of E2 in the gastric mucosa were demonstrated by (3)H(2)O assay and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and they were inhibited by aromatase inhibitor, 4-hydroxyandrostenedione. Conversion of (14)C-androstenedione to (14)C-E2 through (14)C-testosterone in cultured gastric mucosa was also demonstrated. Parietal cells exhibited strong signals for aromatase mRNA and immunoreactive protein by in situ hybridization histochemistry and immunohistochemistry. Estrogen receptor alpha mRNA and immunoreactive protein were demonstrated in hepatocytes by RT-PCR, in situ hybridization histochemistry, and immunohistochemistry. Total gastrectomy reduced portal venous E2 concentration, without changing systemic E2 concentration, together with down-regulation of estrogen receptor alpha mRNA level in the liver. These findings indicate that gastric parietal cells play a potent endocrine role in secreting estrogen that may function as a regulator of the gastro-hepatic axis.