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Korean J Pediatr 2009 January;52(1) :111-118.
Effect of genistein on the sexual maturation in immature female rats
Woocheol Lee (Lee WC)1, Sung-Ho Lee (Lee SH)1, Ryun-Sup Ahn (Ahn RS)2, Mi Jung Park (Park MJ)3
1Department of Life Science, Sangmyung University, Seoul, Korea
2Graduate School of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Pochon CHA Medical University, Seoul, Korea
3Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Inje University, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding Author: Mi Jung Park ,Email:
Copyright © 2009 by The Korean Pediatric Society
Puopose : Exposure to dietary phytoestrogens such as genistein during early childhood is a growing public health concern. We examined the effect of early exposure to genistein on sexual maturation in immature rats. Methods : Weaning (3wk-old) Sprague-Dawley female rats were assigned to three groups (n=6 for each): fed by high dose of genistein (100 mg/kg/d), low dose of genistein (10 mg/kg/d) and control group. First vaginal opening (VO) day was observed. Structural alterations in the ovary and uterus were assessed by histologically. Expression of genes of ER, ER, and progesterone receptor (PR) in the ovary and uterus were investigated by RT-PCR. Results : High genistein group had earlier VO than control and low genistein group. Graafian follicles and corpora lutea were observed from the ovary of genistein-treated groups, while primary, secondary follicles and small atretic follicles were observed in the control group. Hypertrophy of luminal and glandular uterine epithelia were found in the genistein-treated groups while poor development of gland and fewer myometrial cell layers were evident in control group. In ovary, the transcriptional activities of ER and ER were higher in high genistein group than in controls. In uterus, the transcriptional activities of ER, ER and PR were higher in low genistein group than in controls. Conclusion : Acute exposure to genistein during the prepubertal period could activate the reproductive endocrine system resulting in the early onset of puberty in female rats. Further clinical investigation on the effect of genistein on the sexual maturation in children is warranted.
Keywords: Genistein | Puberty | Ovary | Uterus | Onset of puberty
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