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Placenta. 2011 Oct;32(10):757-62. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2011.07.082. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Genistein upregulates placental corticotropin-releasing hormone expression in lipopolysaccharide-sensitized mice.

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  • 1Biochemistry Programme, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong.


Genistein is a phytoestrogen isolated from soya beans. Although soy products are staple food of Asian, the potential effect of genistein on reproduction has not been fully addressed. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an endotoxin found in the cell membrane of gram-negative bacteria. It may cause inflammation and other immune responses. Previous study has shown that LPS may induce pre-mature birth in rodents. In the present study, effect of genistein on LPS-induced preterm birth was investigated. Pregnant ICR mice were gavaged with genistein at 40, 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight/day during E13 to E16. LPS was injected i.p. on E16.5 and the animals were sacrificed at E17. Compared to the control group, an increased incidence of early delivery was observed in the pooled mice under LPS treatment. A rising trend of incidence was also demonstrated dose-dependently with genistein co-treatment. Real-time RT-PCR indicated that the placental crh expression was highly induced by the co-administration of 400 mg/kg genistein and LPS. By contrast, neither genistein nor LPS alone could alter the expression. Increased plasma CRH concentration was also seen in the co-treatment groups. In addition, the mRNA expression of placental CRH-binding protein and plasma progesterone concentration were reduced in these groups. These results indicated that genistein might exacerbate the undesirable effect of LPS on pregnant mice by altering hormonal regulations.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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