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Estradiol. Note one hydroxyl group attached to the D ring. The 'di' refers both to this hydroxyl and the one on the A ring (leftmost).
Estriol. Note two hydroxyl (-OH) groups attached to the D ring (rightmost ring).
Estrone. Note the ketone (=O) group attached to the D ring.

Estrogen or oestrogen (see spelling differences) is the primary female sex hormone and is responsible for development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. Estrogen may also refer to any substance, natural or synthetic that mimics the effects of the natural hormone.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The steroid 17β-estradiol is the most potent and prevalent endogenous estrogen, but several metabolites of estradiol also have estrogenic hormonal activity. Synthetic estrogens are used as part of some oral contraceptives, in estrogen replacement therapy for postmenopausal women, and in hormone replacement therapy for trans women.

The name estrogen comes from the Greek οἶστρος{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} (oistros), literally meaning "verve or inspiration" but figuratively sexual passion or desire,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> and the suffix -gen, meaning "producer of".

Like all steroid hormones, estrogens readily diffuse across the cell membrane. Once inside the cell, they bind to and activate estrogen receptors (ERs) which in turn modulate the expression of many genes.<ref name="isbn1-85996-252-1">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Additionally, estrogens bind to and activate rapid-signaling membrane estrogen receptors (mERs),<ref name="pmid23756388">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref><ref name="pmid22538318">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> such as GPER (GPR30).<ref name="pmid17222505">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>

Estrogens are synthesized in all vertebrates<ref name="pmid7083198">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> as well as some insects.<ref name="Mechoulam_2005">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> Their presence in both vertebrates and insects suggests that estrogenic sex hormones have an ancient evolutionary history. Quantitatively, estrogens circulate at lower levels than androgens in both men and women.<ref name="Burger2002">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>


Estrogen sections
Intro  Types  Biosynthesis  Function  Medical applications  Cosmetics  History  Environmental effects  See also  References  External links  

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