Localization of estrogen receptors in long bones and vertebrae of human fetuses

Herzel Ben-Hur, G. Mor, I. Blickstein, I. Likhman, F. Kohen, R. Dgani, V. Insler, P. Yaffe, A. Ornoy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to investigate the possible role of estrogen in the development of cartilage and bone we studied by immunofluorescence immunohistochemistry and autoradiography 26 human embryos and fetuses 7-22 weeks in gestational age associated with pregnancy interrupted for nonmedical reasons. In order to demonstrate the presence of estrogen receptors (ERs) in human fetal cartilage, cryostat sections of long bones and lumbar and thoracic vertebrae were prepared for (1) fluorescent immunocytochemistry using an antiidiotypic monoclonal antibody to antiestradiol receptor monoclonal Ab labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC), (2) immunohistochemistry using monoclonal antihuman estradiol receptor antibody, labeled with strept. A-B immunoperoxidose, and (3) autoradiographic localization of estradiol using labeled (3 H) l7β estradiol. In fetuses aged 10 weeks or older, intranuclear and perinuclear localization of ER was demonstrated by all methods, mainly amongst chondrocytes of the proliferating and higher hypertrophic zones of the epiphyses and in the cartilage of vertebral bodies. These data suggest that estrogen acts directly on chondrocytes of human fetuses through an ER-mediated mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Estrogen receptors
  • Human fetuses
  • Long bones
  • Vertebrae


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