Oestrogen shows signs of regulating weight, study finds

21 October 2011

Oestrogen works in the brain to keep weight to a healthy level, according to new research.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center discovered that the hormone regulates energy expenditure, appetite and body weight.

They also found that low levels of oestrogen could lead to a higher risk of obesity.

Dr Deborah Clegg, associate professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study, which was published in the journal Cell Metabolism, said that oestrogen has profound effects on a person's metabolism.

She added: "We hadn't previously thought of sex hormones as being critical regulators of food intake and body weight."

Mice were used to test the effectiveness of the scientists' theory and this resulted in those that were lacking in the sex hormone struggling to maintain a steady weight.

It was found that female mice lacking oestrogen receptor alpha - a molecule that sends signals to neurons - in those parts of the brain became obese and were more at risk of developing obesity-related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Similar results were seen in male mice, but the female animals showed higher changes in the analysis.

Oestrogen is used as part of some oral contraceptives, in oestrogen replacement therapy for postmenopausal women and also in hormone replacement therapy for transgender women.

By Jeanette Royston.

Clegg, Deborah, et al., "The role of estrogen in postmenopausal women continues to remain uncertain", Cell Metabolism, October 2011.

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...


Weight loss surgery

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)