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Environ Health Perspect. 1998 Jul; 106(7): 369–373.
PMCID: PMC1533121
Research Article

A case of a laboratory animal feed with high estrogenic activity and its impact on in vivo responses to exogenously administered estrogens.


We recently noted that immature rats failed to exhibit a normal uterine response to exogenously administered estradiol as assessed by both biochemical (induction of gene expression) and morphological (altered uterine and vaginal histology and size) end points. An initial analysis suggested that this was due to a high degree of estrogenization from a dietary source which was producing a near maximal uterotrophic response prior to hormone treatment. Subsequent chemical analysis indicated that the feed in question contained high amounts of two well-known phytoestrogens, genistein (210 mg/kg) and daidzen (14 mg/kg), and the lot of feed in question produced a large uterotrophic effect when fed to immature ovariectomized rats. These findings illustrate that, despite increased awareness of phytoestrogens, some batches of animal feed contain very high amounts of estrogenic components which have marked effects on in vivo end points of hormone action. These observations have important implications for both basic research and screening methods that utilize in vivo approaches.

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Selected References

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