Regulation of phase II enzymes by genistein and daidzein in male and female Swiss Webster mice

J Med Food. 2009 Dec;12(6):1227-37. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2009.0084.


The consumption of soy and soy isoflavones has been associated with a decreased risk of certain cancers. A factor contributing to this dietary chemoprevention is the activity of phase I and II biotransformation enzymes. This study evaluated the hypothesis that dietary soy isoflavones will increase hepatic and extrahepatic quinone reductase (QR), UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT), and glutathione S-transferase (GST) phase II enzyme activities, under short-term feeding and basal (non-pharmacologic-induced) conditions. Male and female Swiss Webster mice were fed for 1, 3, 5, or 7 days of one of four treatments: control (casein AIN-93G) or control supplemented with flavone (positive control), genistein, or daidzein aglycones at 1,500 mg/kg of diet. QR activity was increased by daidzein in the liver, by both isoflavones in the kidney and small intestine, and by genistein in the heart. Genistein and daidzein slightly decreased UGT activities in some tissues. Liver GST activity was decreased by genistein in females. In contrast, genistein and daidzein increased kidney GST activity. In general, the greatest effects of isoflavones on phase II enzymes were observed in liver and kidney tissues, occurring at day 3, and peaking at day 5. Sex effects in the liver and kidney included females exhibiting higher QR activities and males exhibiting higher UGT and GST activities. In conclusion, individual soy isoflavones modulate phase II enzymes in mice under short-term feeding and basal conditions. This study provides insights into the actions of isolated isoflavones in mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects*
  • Genistein / administration & dosage*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism*
  • Isoflavones / administration & dosage*
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Detoxication, Phase II*
  • Mice
  • NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone) / metabolism*
  • Random Allocation


  • Isoflavones
  • daidzein
  • Genistein
  • NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone)
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Glutathione Transferase