Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), generated in the osteoblasts predominantly via cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE), is bone protective. Previous studies suggested that the onset of bone loss due to estrogen deficiency is associated to decreased levels of H2S and blunted gene expression of CSE. However, there are still a lot of unknowns on how H2S levels influence bone cells function. The present study aims to explore the mechanisms by which estrogen may regulate CSE expression, in particular the role of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in human osteoblasts (hOBs). Vertebral lamina derived hOBs were characterized and then assessed for CSE expression by western blot analysis in the presence or absence of ERα overexpression. Bioinformatic analysis, luciferase reporter assay and ChIP assay were performed to investigate ERα recruitment and activity on hCSE gene promoter. Three putative half Estrogen Responsive Elements (EREs) were identified in the hCSE core promoter and were found to participate in the ERα - mediated positive regulation of CSE expression. All osteoblast samples responded to ERα over-expression increasing the levels of CSE protein in a comparable manner. Notably, the ERα recruitment on the regulatory regions of the CSE promoter occurred predominantly in female hOBs than in male hOBs. The obtained results suggest that CSE/H2S system is in relation with estrogen signaling in bone in a gender specific manner.
- cystathionine gamma-lyase
- estrogen receptor alpha