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Genes Nutr. 2013 Jul;8(4):383-90. doi: 10.1007/s12263-012-0323-5. Epub 2012 Oct 30.

Dose-dependent effects of a genistein-enriched diet in the heart of ovariectomized mice.

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Department of Endocrinology, Goettingen University Hospital, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37075, Goettingen, Germany.


The isoflavone genistein is used as a pharmacological compound and as a food supplement. The duration and the level of exposure of humans to genistein are considerable. However, the magnitude of genistein-supplemented dietary interventions necessary to induce any changes in the heart has not been studied so far. The aim of this study was to investigate the dose-dependent effects of dietary genistein in the disease- and stress-free mouse heart. Female C57BL/6J mice at the age of 2 months were ovariectomized and randomly assigned to feed on diets with seven different genistein doses (0.01, 0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3 and 10 g genistein/kg food) for 3 months. Mice with intact ovaries or ovariectomized fed on soy-free diets were used as controls. Ovariectomy led to an increase in body weight, while the two highest genistein doses prevented this increase. Absolute uterus weight was decreased in the ovariectomized group and all genistein groups except for the 10 g/kg food group compared with the intact ovaries/soy-free group. Considering cardiac mass, although the 3 and 10 g/kg food groups had significantly lower absolute heart weight than all other groups, heart-to-body-weight ratios did not differ between these two groups and the intact ovaries/soy-free group, while all remaining groups had smaller ratios. Next, we observed dose-dependent effects of genistein on cardiac gene expression. The present findings indicate that exposure of female mice to the soy isoflavone genistein influences body weight and cardiac mass and gene expression in a dose-dependent manner. Human exposure to dietary genistein supplements may influence cardiac function.

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