Circadian rhythm of hepatic cytosolic and nuclear estrogen and androgen receptors

Antonio Francavilla, Patricia K. Eagon, Alfredo DiLeo, David H. Van Thiel, Carmine Panella, Lorenzo Polimeno, Cinzia Amoruso, Marcello Ingrosso, A. Maria Aquilino, Thomas E. Starzl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mammalian liver is a sex steroid-responsive tissue. The effects of these hormones presumably are mediated by hepatic estrogen receptors (ER) and androgen receptors (AR). Serum levels of sex hormones display circadian rhythms. Further, estrogens and androgens are commonly administered; administration of these agents is associated frequently with liver disease. Therefore, we investigated whether the cytosolic and nuclear sex steroid receptors also display a similar circadian rhythm, and whether variations occurred in the distribution of receptors between cytosolic and nuclear compartments. Animals were killed every 4 h from midnight till the following midnight; cytosolic and nuclear levels of both ER and AR were measured. Cytosolic ER reached a maximum level at 4 am, and a minimum at 8 pm and midnight of both days. Nuclear ER was highest at 8 am and lowest at 4 pm and 8 pm, a pattern which parallels variations in serum estradiol levels. Cytosolic AR was highest at 8 pm and lowest at midnight and 4 am. Nuclear AR was highest at 4 am and lowest at 4 pm and 8 pm. The highest level of nuclear AR does not correspond to the maximum serum testosterone level, which occurred at 4 pm. The total hepatic content of both ER and AR was not constant over the 24-h period, but varied considerably with time of day. These studies suggest that both ER and AR show a distinct circadian rhythm in subcellular compartmentalization, and that total hepatic content of ER and AR varies significantly during a 24-h period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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    Francavilla, A., Eagon, P. K., DiLeo, A., Van Thiel, D. H., Panella, C., Polimeno, L., Amoruso, C., Ingrosso, M., Aquilino, A. M., & Starzl, T. E. (1986). Circadian rhythm of hepatic cytosolic and nuclear estrogen and androgen receptors. Gastroenterology, 91(1), 182-188.