G protein-coupled estrogen receptor in colon function, immune regulation and carcinogenesis.
Estrogens play important roles in the development and progression of multiple tumor types. Accumulating evidence points to the significance of estrogen action not only in tumors of hormonally regulated tissues such as the breast, endometrium and ovary, but also in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC). The effects of estrogens in physiological and pathophysiological conditions are mediated by the nuclear estrogen receptors α and β, as well as the membrane-bound G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER). The roles of GPER in CRC development and progression, however, remain poorly understood. Studies on the functions of GPER in the colon have shown that this estrogen receptor regulates colonic motility as well as immune responses in CRC-associated diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. GPER is also involved in cell cycle regulation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, proliferation, apoptosis, vascularization, cell migration, and the regulation of fatty acid and estrogen metabolism in CRC cells. Thus, multiple lines of evidence suggest that GPER may play an important role in colorectal carcinogenesis. In this review, we present the current state of knowledge regarding the contribution of GPER to colon function and CRC.