Mouse models of cystic fibrosis (CF) display increased sulfotransferase 1E1 (SULT1E1) activity in hepatocytes of cystic fibrosis transmembrane receptor (CFTR)-deficient animals. SULT1E1 is responsible for the sulfation and inactivation of β-estradiol (E2) at physiological concentrations. IGF-1 message levels in CFTR(-/-) mouse livers were positively correlated with body weight and negatively correlated with SULT1E1 activity. Growth hormone (GH) is important in the regulation of hepatic IGF-1 expression indicating that E2 levels are involved with GH signaling in hepatocytes. To investigate the effects of E2 and SULT1E1 activity on GH signal transduction in human hepatocytes, SULT1E1 was stably expressed in HepG2 cells. Effects of increased E2 sulfation on the GH signaling pathway and E2-regulated gene expression were examined. Pretreatment of HepG2 cells with 10 nM E2 prior to GH stimulation increased STAT5b phosphorylation and IGF-1 expression. In SULT1E1-transfected HepG2 cells, GH-stimulated STAT5b phosphorylation was significantly decreased. E2 treatment had no effect on STAT5b phosphorylation in the absence of GH stimulation. E2 also had no effect on Jak-2 phosphorylation. E2 has an apparent rapid action on increasing GH-stimulated STAT5b phosphorylation that was not attenuated by the estrogen receptor antagonist, ICI 182,780. Physiological levels of E2 in HepG2 cells increase GH stimulation of IGF-1 production apparently through increased phosphorylated STAT5b levels and transcriptional activation of the IGF-1 gene. The enhanced SULT1E1 activity may have a role in inhibiting GH-stimulated STAT5b phosphorylation and IGF-1 synthesis via the sulfation and inactivation of E2. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.