Cell density is a critical determinant of aromatase expression in adipose stromal cells

Sagar Ghosh, Yanfen Hu, Rong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Obesity is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women. This is at least partly due to excessive estrogen production in adipose tissue of obese women. Aromatase, the key enzyme in estrogen biosynthesis, is an important target in endocrine therapy for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive postmenopausal breast cancer. In this study we show that high confluency of human adipose stromal cells (ASCs) cultured in vitro can significantly stimulate aromatase gene expression and reduce the expression of breast tumor suppressor BRCA1 and members of the NR4A orphan nuclear family. Furthermore, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of Nurr1, a member of the NR4A family, substantially increased aromatase expression. Lastly,wefound that the cell density-triggered inducibility of aromatase expression varies in ASCs isolated from different disease-free individuals. Our finding highlights the impact of increased cell number on estrogen biosynthesis as in the case of excessive adiposity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-236
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Feb 28 2010


  • Adipose stromal cells
  • Aromatase
  • Cell density
  • NR4A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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