Estrogen and Liver Toxicity

Also see:
Estrogen, Endotoxin, and Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury
Alcohol Consumption – Estrogen and Progesterone In Women
How does estrogen enhance endotoxin toxicity? Let me count the ways.
PUFA and Liver Toxicity; Protection by Saturated Fats
Endotoxin: Poisoning from the Inside Out

“Many things in our environment are increasing the incidence of certain kinds of liver disease. The liver processes things that are ingested or that enter the blood stream after being inhaled or absorbed through the skin, so in a toxic environment it is susceptible to injury. If deprived of good nutrition or adequate thyroid hormone it is especially sensitive to toxins. The body’s own estrogen is a burden on the liver, causing women’s livers to be on average slower than men’s in processing environmental chemicals.

Almost any kind of toxin causes the liver to be less efficient at excreting other substances, including hormones. In malnutrition, sickness, and in aging, there is a tendency for higher levels of estrogen to remain circulating in the blood.” -Ray Peat, PhD

J Korean Med Sci. 1999 Jun;14(3):277-85.
The metabolic effects of estriol in female rat liver.
Yang JM, Kim SS, Kim JI, Ahn BM, Choi SW, Kim JK, Lee CD, Chung KW, Sun HS, Park DH, Thurman RG.
The effects of estriol on oxygen uptake, glucose release, lactate and pyruvate production, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate production in perfused rat liver as well as, carbon uptake in rat liver and intracellular calcium in isolated Kupffer cells were investigated. Basal oxygen consumption of perfused liver increased significantly in estriol or ethanol-treated rats. But these increased effects were blocked by gadolinium chloride pretreatment. In a metabolic study, pretreatment with estriol resulted in a decrease in glucose production and in glycolysis while an increase in ketogenesis. A more oxidized redox state of the mitochondria was indicated by increased ratios of perfusate [lactate]/[pyruvate] and decreased ratios of perfusate [beta-hydroxybutyrate]/[acetoacetate]. Carbon uptake of Kupffer-cell increased significantly in estriol-treated rats. But these increased uptake were not shown in rats pre-treated by gadolinium chloride blocking phagocytosis. In isolated Kupffer cells from estriol-treated rats, intracellular calcium was more significantly increased after addition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) than in controls. These findings suggest that the metabolic effects of estriol (two mg per 100 mg body wt) can be summarized to be highly toxic in rat liver, and these findings suggest that oral administration of estrogens may induce hepatic dysfunctions and play a role in the development of liver disease.

Estrogen makes the toxic-mediator-producing cells in the liver (Kupffer cells) hypersensitive to LPS–15 times more sensitive than normal (Ikejima, et al., 1998). One way estrogen increases the toxicity of endotoxin is probably by making the intestine more permeable (Enomoto, et al., 1999). -Ray Peat, PhD

Am J Physiol. 1998 Apr;274(4 Pt 1):G669-76.
Estrogen increases sensitivity of hepatic Kupffer cells to endotoxin.
Ikejima K, Enomoto N, Iimuro Y, Ikejima A, Fang D, Xu J, Forman DT, Brenner DA, Thurman RG.
The relationship among gender, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and liver disease is complex. Accordingly, the effect of estrogen on activation of Kupffer cells by endotoxin was studied. All rats given estrogen intraperitoneally 24 h before an injection of a sublethal dose of LPS (5 mg/kg) died within 24 h, whereas none of the control rats died. Mortality was prevented totally by pretreatment with gadolinium chloride, a Kupffer cell toxicant. Peak serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) values as well as TNF-alpha mRNA in the liver after LPS were twice as high in the estrogen-treated group as in the untreated controls. Plasma nitrite levels and inducible nitric oxide synthase in the liver were also elevated significantly in estrogen-treated rats 6 h after LPS. Furthermore, Kupffer cells isolated from estrogen-treated rats produced about twice as much TNF-alpha and nitrite as controls did in response to LPS. In addition, Kupffer cells from estrogen-treated rats required 15-fold lower amounts of LPS to increase intracellular Ca2+ than controls did, and Kupffer cells from estrogen-treated animals expressed more CD14, the receptor for LPS/LPS binding protein, than controls. Moreover, estrogen treatment increased LPS binding protein mRNA dramatically in liver in 6-24 h. It is concluded that estrogen treatment in vivo sensitizes Kupffer cells to LPS, leading to increased toxic mediator production by the liver.

Am J Physiol. 1999 Sep;277(3 Pt 1):G671-7.
Estriol sensitizes rat Kupffer cells via gut-derived endotoxin.
Enomoto N, Yamashina S, Schemmer P, Rivera CA, Bradford BU, Enomoto A, Brenner DA, Thurman RG.
The relationship between gender and alcohol-induced liver disease is complex; however, endotoxin is most likely involved. Recently, it was reported that estriol activated Kupffer cells by upregulation of the endotoxin receptor CD14. Therefore, the purpose of this work was to study how estriol sensitizes Kupffer cells. Rats were given estriol (20 mg/kg ip), and Kupffer cells were isolated 24 h later. After addition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), intracellular Ca2+ concentration was measured using a microspectrofluorometer with the fluorescent indicator fura 2, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha was measured by ELISA. CD14 was evaluated by Western analysis. One-half of the rats given estriol intraperitoneally 24 h before an injection of a sublethal dose of LPS (5 mg/kg) died within 24 h, whereas none of the control rats died. Mortality was prevented totally by sterilization of the gut with antibiotics. A similar pattern was obtained with liver histology and serum transaminases. Translocation of horseradish peroxidase was increased about threefold in gut segments by treatment with estriol. This increase was not altered by treatment with nonabsorbable antibiotics. On the other hand, endotoxin levels were increased to 60-70 pg/ml in plasma of rats treated with estriol. As expected, this increase was prevented (<20 pg/ml) by antibiotics. In isolated Kupffer cells, LPS-induced increases in intracellular Ca2+ concentration, tumor necrosis factor-alpha production, and CD14 were increased, as previously reported. All these phenomena were blocked by antibiotics. Therefore, it is concluded that estriol treatment in vivo sensitizes Kupffer cells to LPS via mechanisms dependent on increases in CD14. This is most likely due to elevated portal blood endotoxin caused by increased gut permeability.

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  1. Sarah says

    Does bio-identical estradiol effect the liver in the same way?