Regulation of aromatase activity of cultured adipose stromal cells by catecholamines and adrenocorticotropin

Carole R. Mendelson, Margaret E. Smith, William H. Cleland, Evan R. Simpson

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30 Scopus citations


Adipose tissue is the major site of estrogen formation in postmenopausal women. We have previously reported (Simpson E.R., Ackerman G.E., Smith M.E. and Mendelson C.R. (1981) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (U.S.A.) 78, 5690-5694; Mendelson C.R., Cleland W.H., Smith M.E. and Simpson E.R. (1982) Endocrinology 111, 1077-1085) that aromatase activity of human adipose stromal cells in culture is stimulated by glucocorticoids and by dibutyryl cyclic AMP (Bt2-cAMP). In order to establish which physiological factors might stimulate aromatase activity of these cells by activation of adenylate cyclase, we have investigated the roles of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and isoproterenol to increase cyclic AMP levels and stimulate the aromatization of androstenedione. In the presence of methylisobutylxanthine (MIX), ACTH stimulated cyclic AMP formation and aromatase activity in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. The concentration of ACTH required for half-maximal stimulation was ~ 10-8 M. Isoproterenol, in the presence of MIX, stimulated cyclic AMP formation in a time- and concentration-dependent fashion, and also stimulated aromatase activity. These effects of isoproterenol appeared to be mediated by binding of the agonist to a population of β-adrenergic receptors. On the basis of these and our previous studies, we suggest that ACTH may play an important role in stimulating estrogen formation by human adipose tissue, both directly, and by stimulating the adrenal cortex to produce both substrate, androstenedione, and inducing agent, namely cortisol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1984


  • adipose tissue
  • estrogen formation
  • postmenopausal women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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