Horm Metab Res 2018; 50(05): 359-374
DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-100920
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Estradiol: A Steroid with Multiple Facets

Anita Kumar
1   Neuroendocrinology Laboratory, National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR-NIRRH), Mumbai, India
Antara Banerjee
2   Structural Biology Laboratory, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
Dipty Singh
3   Transmission Electron Microscopy Facility, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
Gargi Thakur
4   Innate Immunity Laboratory, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
Nandini Kasarpalkar
5   Molecular Immunology and Microbiology Laboratory, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
Shubhangi Gavali
6   Molecular Immunodiagnostics Laboratory, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
Sushama Gadkar
7   Primate Biology Laboratory, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
Taruna Madan
4   Innate Immunity Laboratory, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
Smita D. Mahale
2   Structural Biology Laboratory, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
N. H. Balasinor
1   Neuroendocrinology Laboratory, National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR-NIRRH), Mumbai, India
Geetanjali Sachdeva
7   Primate Biology Laboratory, ICMR-NIRRH, Mumbai, India
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 26 October 2017

accepted 04 January 2018

Publication Date:
22 March 2018 (online)


Seventy-five glorious years have passed since estradiol was discovered by Edward Doisy. From discovery in the ovaries to delineation of diverse physiological effects, research on estrogens has covered a lot of ground. Estrogen receptors that mediate estrogenic effects, have been detected not only in reproductive organs, but also in other body organs. Estrogen receptors function either as conventional transcription factors or as rapid signal transducers. These different modes of action are opted by estrogens to elicit an array of reproductive and non-reproductive functions. It is well established that estrogens promote cell proliferation in various tissues and hence are also linked to carcinogenesis. Anti-estrogens are being used as adjunct therapies for cancers since several years. On the other hand, estrogen-based strategies are used to alleviate adverse effects of menopause. Apart from estrogens synthesized in various organs, exposure to environmental estrogens can also impact physiology. Thus, too much or too less of estrogens can tip the balance and lead to unfavorable consequences. Multiple estrogen receptors with their tissue- or cell type-specific expression eliciting dose-dependent effects make it perplexing to ‘unify’ estrogenic actions in diverse tissues/organs. This warrants more research on estrogen-mediated effects and their regulation in somatic and reproductive tissues. This review presents physiological and pathological aspects of estrogens thus highlighting the good, bad, and ugly facets of estrogens.

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