The skeletal response to estrogen is impaired in female but not in male steroid receptor coactivator (SRC)-1 knock out mice

U. I. Mödder, A. Sanyal, J. Xu, B. W. O'Malley, T. C. Spelsberg, S. Khosla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Estrogen (E) is critical for the maintenance of bone mass in both female and male mice and steroid receptor coactivator (SRC)-1 has been shown to be important for mediating E effects on bone, at least in female mice. In the present study, we defined the skeletal phenotype of male SRC-1 knock out (KO) mice and compared it with their female littermates. Further, to determine the role of SRC-1 in mediating effects of E on bone in male mice, we examined the skeletal effects of gonadectomy (gnx) with or without E replacement in male mice and placed these findings in the context of our previous studies in female SRC-1 KO mice. Analysis of a large group of male (WT, n = 67; SRC-1 KO, n = 56) and female (WT, n = 66; SRC-1 KO, n = 70) mice showed a significant decrease in trabecular volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) in SRC-1 KO mice compared to their WT littermates in both genders (male SRC-1 KO, 275 ± 3 vs. WT, 295 ± 3 mg/cm3, P < 0.001; female SRC-1 KO, 210 ± 2 vs. WT, 221 ± 2 mg/cm3, P < 0.001). Following gnx and E replacement (10 μg/kg/day), we previously demonstrated that SRC-1 KO female mice have a defect in E action in trabecular, but not in cortical bone. In contrast, we now demonstrate that the same dose of E administered to gnx'd male SRC-1 KO mice was sufficient to prevent trabecular bone loss in these mice. For example, in WT female mice, gnx followed by E replacement maintained spine BMD (1.2 ± 3.4% vs. baseline) as compared to gnx without E replacement (- 12.7 ± 2.6%, P < 0.001 vs. sham); this effect of E was absent in SRC-1 KO female mice. By contrast, the identical dose of E was equally effective in maintaining spine BMD in E-treated gnx'd male WT (- 5.2 ± 5.1% vs. baseline) and male SRC-1 KO (- 5.4 ± 5.3%) mice, respectively, as compared to gnx'd mice without E treatment (WT, - 17.6 ± 2.5%, P = 0.02; SRC-1 KO, - 28.6 ± 2.6%, P < 0.001 vs. sham). E treatment was effective in suppressing cancellous bone turnover in both gnx'd WT and SRC-1 KO male mice as determined by significant reductions in osteoblast and osteoclast numbers; however, in female mice, E treatment only suppressed bone turnover in WT but not in SRC-1 KO mice. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that loss of SRC-1 results in trabecular osteopenia in male and female mice, but in contrast to female mice, this is not due to any detectable resistance to E action in trabecular bone in male SRC-1 KO mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-421
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • E action
  • Gender difference
  • Gonadectomy
  • SRC
  • Steroid receptor coactivators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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