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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 165215, 15 pages
Review Article

The Endocrine Role of Estrogens on Human Male Skeleton

1Unit of Endocrinology, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via P. Giardini 1355, 41126 Modena, Italy
2Azienda USL di Modena, Nuovo Ospedale Civile Sant’Agostino Estense (NOCSAE), Via P. Giardini 1355, 41126 Modena, Italy

Received 23 August 2014; Accepted 14 November 2014

Academic Editor: Martina Rauner

Copyright © 2015 Vincenzo Rochira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Before the characterization of human and animal models of estrogen deficiency, estrogen action was confined in the context of the female bone. These interesting models uncovered a wide spectrum of unexpected estrogen actions on bone in males, allowing the formulation of an estrogen-centric theory useful to explain how sex steroids act on bone in men. Most of the principal physiological events that take place in the developing and mature male bone are now considered to be under the control of estrogen. Estrogen determines the acceleration of bone elongation at puberty, epiphyseal closure, harmonic skeletal proportions, the achievement of peak bone mass, and the maintenance of bone mass. Furthermore, it seems to crosstalk with androgen even in the determination of bone size, a more androgen-dependent phenomenon. At puberty, epiphyseal closure and growth arrest occur when a critical number of estrogens is reached. The same mechanism based on a critical threshold of serum estradiol seems to operate in men during adulthood for bone mass maintenance via the modulation of bone formation and resorption in men. This threshold should be better identified in-between the ranges of 15 and 25 pg/mL. Future basic and clinical research will optimize strategies for the management of bone diseases related to estrogen deficiency in men.