Estrogen and Its Effects

1329 WordsFeb 24, 20126 Pages
Jenna Gunselman 12/1/2011 Biochemistry Extra Credit Paper Estrogen and Its Effects Estrogens are steroids that are important in the reproductive cycles of humans and some animals, and they are the main female sex hormones. They easily diffuse across cell membranes, and once they are inside, they bind to estrogen receptors to control many genes and their expressions. In human women, there are three types of estrogen: estradiol, which is the dominant form of estrogen in women who are not pregnant, estrone, which is produced during menopause, and estriol, which is found in pregnant women. Estradiol is the most potent of the three types of estrogen found in women, almost ten times stronger than estrone and almost eighty times stronger…show more content…
Both groups were then exposed for another 24 hours to etoposide, a drug used in chemotherapy that promotes apoptosis. The results of this test showed that caspase-3 activity decreased in cells treated with estrogen, but increased in cells not treated with estrogen. This supports the hypothesis that estradiol does have an effect on apoptosis in bone cells, and that without it, cell death will increase and bone density will diminish. In addition to its effects on bone health, estrogen also has a huge effect on the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that it increases the levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, decreases the levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and relaxes and dilates blood vessels so that blood flow will increase. There is also evidence that estrogens contribute to the maintenance of the health of the endothelium, or the lining of the blood vessels, thus further protecting the cardiovascular system from plaque and heart disease. With menopause, estradiol levels drop, and so these effects on the heart and blood vessels are lowered, giving postmenopausal women a higher risk of heart disease than premenopausal women. A study done by Kim and Levin in 2006 at the University of California states that 17-beta-estradiol typically has a protective property on the cardiovascular system, and that it decreases the amount of cell death in cardiomyocytes, or heart muscle cells. To test this theory, female rats
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