Estrogen receptor beta is involved in skeletal muscle hypertrophy induced by the phytoecdysteroid ecdysterone

Estrogen receptor beta is involved in skeletal muscle hypertrophy induced by the phytoecdysteroid ecdysterone / Maria Kristina Parr, Piwen Zhao, Oliver Haupt, Sandrine Tchoukouegno Ngueu, Jonas Hengevoss, Karl Heinrich Fritzemeier, Marion Piechotta, Nils Schlörer, Peter Muhn, Wen‐Ya Zheng, Ming‐Yong Xie, Patrick Diel. - (Molecular Nutrition & Food Reseach 58 (2014) 9 (September); 1861-1872).
- PMID: 24974955.
- DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201300806


The phytoectysteroid ecdysterone (Ecdy) was reported to stimulate protein synthesis and enhance physical performance. The aim of this study was to investigate underlying molecular mechanisms particularly the role of ER beta (ERβ).

In male rats, Ecdy treatment increased muscle fiber size, serum IGF-1 increased, and corticosteron and 17β-estradiol (E2) decreased. In differentiated C2C12 myoblastoma cells, treatment with Ecdy, dihydrotestosterone, IGF-1 but also E2 results in hypertrophy. Hypertrophy induced by E2 and Ecdy could be antagonized with an antiestrogen but not by an antiandrogen. In HEK293 cells transfected with ER alpha (ERα) or ERβ, Ecdy treatment transactivated a reporter gene. To elucidate the role of ERβ in Ecdy-mediated muscle hypertrophy, C2C12 myotubes were treated with ERα (ALPHA) and ERβ (BETA) selective ligands. Ecdy and BETA treatment but not ALPHA induced hypertrophy. The effect of Ecdy, E2, and BETA could be antagonized by an ERβ-selective antagonist (ANTIBETA). In summary, our results indicate that ERβ is involved in the mediation of the anabolic activity of the Ecdy.

These findings provide new therapeutic perspectives for the treatment of muscle injuries, sarcopenia, and cachectic disease, but also imply that such a substance could be abused for doping purposes.


Research / Study
30 April 2014
Diel, Patrick
Fritzemeier, Karl Heinrich
Haupt, Oliver
Hengevoss, Jonas
Muhn, Peter
Ngueu, Sandrine Tchoukouegno
Parr, Maria Kristina
Piechotta, Marion
Schlörer, Nils
Xie, Ming-Yong
Zhao, Piwen
Zheng, Wen-Ya
Other organisations
Bayer AG
Beijing University of Chinese Medicine
Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (DSHS) - German Sport University Cologne
Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) - Free University of Berlin
Nanchang University (NCU)
Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo) - University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover
Universität zu Köln - University of Cologne
Zentraler Sanitätsdienst der Bundeswehr - Bundeswehr Joint Medical Service
Analytical aspects
New substance, not on prohibited list
Doping classes
S1. Anabolic Agents
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Date generated
9 May 2019
Date of last modification
5 June 2019
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