2-Hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1) has much lower uterotropic potency than might be predicted from its uterine estrogen receptor affinity. 2-OHE1 displaces saturably bound [3H]estradiol from rat uterine cytosol with a competitive inhibition constant of 8.6 nm, while the dissociation constant for 17β- estradiol (E2) is 0.42 nM. From this ratio of binding affinities, one would expect some agonist or antagonist activity of 2-OHE1 to be apparent at doses roughly 20-50 times the minimum effective dose of E2. Instead, at doses of 2-OHE1 1000 times an effective dose of E2, no uterotropic effect was observed. When 2-OHE1 was injected together with E2 at dose ratios of 500:1, there was no antagonism of the effect of E2. To examine this discrepancy, the plasma MCRs (MCRps) of E2 and 2-OHE1 were determined by continuous infusion techniques. Plasma concentrations of 2-OHE1 and E2 during control and infusion periods were measured by RIAs. The MCRp of 2- OHE1 averaged 50, 000 ml/h, more than 100 times that of E2 (-400 ml/h). The extraordinarily high MCRp of 2-OHE1 may explain the failure to observe any biological effects of this catechol estrogen, even at high doses. This rapid metabolism, presumably occurring in the blood compartment, should be considered in handling blood samples for RIA and in devising studies of the actions of catechol estrogens.
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