Estrogenic and anti-androgenic activity of nitrophenols in diesel exhaust particles (DEP)

Biol Pharm Bull. 2004 Jun;27(6):835-7. doi: 10.1248/bpb.27.835.


We recently isolated 4-nitrophenol, 2-methyl-4-nitrophenol, 3-methyl-4-nitrophenol, and 4-nitro-3-phenylphenol from diesel exhaust particles (DEP) and identified them as vasodilators. Because these compounds are alkylphenolic derivatives that might mimic hormones, we evaluated their estrogenic activity by human estrogen receptor (hER)-yeast screen assay. All of these nitrophenol derivatives except 2-methyl-4-nitrophenol exhibited estrogenic activity. Some estrogenic compounds are also anti-androgenic, so we measured the anti-androgenic activity of the same compounds by human androgen receptor (hAR)-yeast screen assay. We found anti-androgenicity in all four nitrophenols. Nitrophenols in DEP possess not only vasodilatory activity but also estrogenic and anti-androgenic activity.

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists*
  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Hormone Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Nitrophenols / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Vehicle Emissions* / adverse effects
  • Yeasts / drug effects
  • Yeasts / metabolism


  • Androgen Receptor Antagonists
  • Androgens
  • Estrogens
  • Hormone Antagonists
  • Nitrophenols
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Vehicle Emissions