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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Neurobehavioral actions of coumestrol and related isoflavonoids in rodents

 Posted by Chantel Martiromo. research contributed by PubMed
Isoflavonoids are plant estrogens that are increasingly advocated as a natural alternative to estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and are available as dietary supplements. As weak estrogen agonists/antagonists with a range of other enzymatic activities, the isoflavonoids provide a useful model for the actions of endocrine disruptors. According to the study by the Emory University, treatment of rat dams with a 100-ppm coumestrol diet from birth to postnatal day (PND) 21 induced premature anovulation in female offspring, and treatment from birth to PND 10 suppressed sexual behavior in male offspring. One-week treatment of ovariectomized (OVX) female rats with the same coumestrol diet increased ERbeta mRNA expression in the PVN, an effect opposite to that of estradiol. Ten days of treatment with a 200-ppm coumestrol diet increased LH secretion in OVX wild-type mice, an effect opposite to the normal negative feedback effects of estradiol. No effects were observed in ER(alpha) knockout (ER(alpha)KO)-OVX females, indicating that coumestrol's action on LH was mediated through ER(alpha). Similar activational effects were observed for the isoflavone diet. The lordotic response to estrogen was significantly reduced by 2 days of treatment of OVX adult females with an isoflavone diet providing 13 ppm genistein and 33 ppm daidzein. One week of treatment with the same isoflavone diet produced an effect opposite to that of estradiol in the PVN, increasing ERbeta mRNA expression above control levels. These investigations show that, in spite of their preferential affinity for ERbeta, isoflavonoids act through both ER(alpha) and ERbeta. Moreover, their neurobehavioral actions were antiestrogenic, either antagonizing or producing an action in opposition to that of estradiol. This work demonstrates that even small, physiologically relevant exposure levels can alter estrogen-dependent gene expression in the brain and complex behavior, posted in PubMed.

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