Effects of phytoestrogen extracts isolated from rye, green and yellow pea seeds on hormone production and proliferation of trophoblast tumor cells Jeg3

Horm Res. 2006;65(6):276-88. doi: 10.1159/000092591. Epub 2006 Apr 6.


Background: Phytoestrogens are a diverse group of non-steroidal plant compounds. Because they have chemical structures similar to estrogens they are able to bind on estrogen receptors in humans.

Objectives: In this study, we tested the effects of crude phytoestrogen extracts from rye (Secale cereale), green pea (Pisum sativum) and yellow pea seeds (Pisum sativum cv.) on cell proliferation and the production of progesterone in trophoblast tumor cells of the cell line Jeg3.

Methods: Isoflavone extracts from green and yellow pea seeds and lignan extracts from rye seeds were obtained, using different extraction methods. Isolated extracts were incubated in different concentrations with trophoblast tumor cells. Untreated cells were used as controls. At designated times, aliquots were removed and tested for estradiol and progesterone production. In addition, we tested the effects of the phytoestrogen extracts on cell proliferation.

Results: Cell proliferation is significantly inhibited by potential phytoestrogens isolated from rye, green and yellow pea seeds in trophoblast tumor cells of the cell line Jeg3. We found a correlation between the effects of proliferation and production of estradiol in isoflavone extracts from green and yellow pea seeds in Jeg3 cells. In addition, higher concentrations of isoflavones isolated from green pea seeds and lignans from rye showed also a inhibition of progesterone production whereas higher concentrations of rye lignans elevated estradiol production in Jeg3 cells.

Conclusion: A useful indicator test system for potential phytoestrogens could be established. Based on the obtained results it is proposed that green and yellow pea seeds contain measurable concentrations of isoflavones and rye seeds contain lignans which can be isolated and used for special human diet programs.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Isoflavones / isolation & purification
  • Lignans / isolation & purification
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Phytoestrogens / isolation & purification*
  • Phytoestrogens / pharmacology*
  • Pisum sativum / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Progesterone / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Secale / chemistry
  • Seeds / chemistry


  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • Isoflavones
  • Lignans
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol