Estrogenicity of isoflavones on human endometrial stromal and glandular cells

Umit A. Kayisli, Cinar Ahmet H. Aksu, Murat Berkkanoglu, Aydin Arici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Endometrium consists of different cell populations such as epithelial and stromal cells and is mainly regulated by sex steroids. Isoflavones are plant-derived estrogenic compounds that have estrogenic and antiestrogenic properties in a cell-specific manner. We hypothesized that one of the potential health benefits of isoflavones may be their ability to regulate endometrial cell function. The present study was conducted to assess estrogenic and/or antiestrogenic effects of isoflavones (genistein, genistin, daidzein, and daidzin) in cultured human endometrial stromal and glandular (Ishikawa) cells by MTT colorimetric cell proliferation assay, proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression, and alkaline phosphatase activity assays. Experiments were performed in a time- (24-96 h) and concentration-dependent (10-12 to 10-5 M) manner. All isoflavones used in the present study induced endometrial stromal and Ishikawa cell proliferation when compared with control (vehicle) group in a time- (at 48 h and afterward) and concentration-dependent manner (at 10-8 M and above) (P < 0.05). However, isoflavones (at 10-8 and above concentrations) were also antiestrogenic when combined with estradiol (E2) (P < 0.05). The isoflavones revealed a weak estrogenic activity (39-67% less than E2) as assessed by alkaline phosphatase activity (P < 0.05), but when administered together with E2, they antagonized estrogen induced alkaline phosphatase activity by 36-89% (P < 0.05). We conclude that, although isoflavones alone have weak estrogenic effects on endometrial stromal and glandular cells, in the presence of E2 they act as antiestrogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5539-5544
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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