Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 294278, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/294278
Review Article

Sex Hormones and Their Receptors Regulate Liver Energy Homeostasis

Cell, Molecular, and Structural Biology, Department of Biology, Miami University, 700 E. High Street, Oxford, OH 45056, USA

Received 11 May 2015; Revised 5 August 2015; Accepted 9 August 2015

Academic Editor: Małgorzata Kotula-Balak

Copyright © 2015 Minqian Shen and Haifei Shi. 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.

Abstract

The liver is one of the most essential organs involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Hepatic steatosis, a major manifestation of metabolic syndrome, is associated with imbalance between lipid formation and breakdown, glucose production and catabolism, and cholesterol synthesis and secretion. Epidemiological studies show sex difference in the prevalence in fatty liver disease and suggest that sex hormones may play vital roles in regulating hepatic steatosis. In this review, we summarize current literature and discuss the role of estrogens and androgens and the mechanisms through which estrogen receptors and androgen receptors regulate lipid and glucose metabolism in the liver. In females, estradiol regulates liver metabolism via estrogen receptors by decreasing lipogenesis, gluconeogenesis, and fatty acid uptake, while enhancing lipolysis, cholesterol secretion, and glucose catabolism. In males, testosterone works via androgen receptors to increase insulin receptor expression and glycogen synthesis, decrease glucose uptake and lipogenesis, and promote cholesterol storage in the liver. These recent integrated concepts suggest that sex hormone receptors could be potential promising targets for the prevention of hepatic steatosis.