A randomized placebo-controlled trial of short-term graded transdermal estradiol in healthy gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist-suppressed pre- and postmenopausal women: Effects on serum markers of bone turnover, insulin-like growth factor-I, and osteoclastogenic mediators

Peter Y. Liu, Kelley A. Hoey, Kristi L. Mielke, Johannes D. Veldhuis, Sundeep Khosla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


The acute effects of estradiol on procollagen type 1 formation in pre- and postmenopausal women are controversial. Twenty-three premenopausal women and 13 postmenopausal women received two consecutive im injections of 3.75 mg leuprolide acetate 3 wk apart to block endogenous ovarian steroidogenesis. Transdermal estradiol therapy commenced on the night of the second leuprolide injection in all subjects, except five pre- and two postmenopausal women who were randomized to receive placebo patches. Estradiol therapy was applied incrementally, with each dose of 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, and 0.20 mg/d administered for 4 consecutive days, to mimic the estradiol changes typifying the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Blood aminoterminal propeptide of type I procollagen (PINP), intact osteocalcin (OC), carboxyterminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTx), IGF-I, and estradiol were measured before and at the end of each estradiol increment. Potential mediators such as osteoprotegerin and receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) were also measured. Despite comparable increases in serum estradiol, PINP increased more in postmenopausal compared with premenopausal women (between-group P = 0.03) and occurred at a time when CTx and OC did not change. CTx and IGF-I changed minimally and inconsistently, whereas OC, RANKL, and osteoprotegerin were stable. Repeated measures linear regression disclosed a significant negative association between increases in estradiol and PINP in premenopausal women (P = 0.0008) only. This suggests that lower dose estradiol should greatly increase PINP. Analogous regressions also showed significant negative relationships between changes in estradiol and RANKL in both pre- (P = 0.04) and postmenopausal (P = 0.002) women. Changes in serum markers of bone formation (PINP or OC) did not correlate with those of IGF-I. We conclude that lower dose estradiol rapidly increases osteoblastic collagen synthesis in women at a time when collagen degradation is stable and that this response differs between pre- and postmenopausal women. The effect of estradiol on bone formation does not appear to be mediated by IGF-I. In contrast, RANKL is likely to mediate the effect of estradiol on osteoclastogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1953-1960
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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