Objective: To detect the estrogenic activity of genistein and apigenin with ER-positive cell line MCF-7 human breast cancer cells.
Method: MTT method was adopted to study the impact of genistein and apigenin on MCF-7 proliferation in vitro. Real-time RT-PCR method was used to detect their impact on ERalpha, ERbeta, PR and PS2 mRNA expression levels.
Result: Genistein and apigenin promoted the proliferation of MCF-7. Genistein 1 x 10(-10) mol x L(-1) group showed a significant increase in the expression of ERa mRNA levels or a 17. 76 times more than the control group and a 1.75 times more than the E2 group. Apigenin notably promoted the PR mRNA expression or a 4. 57 times more than the control group and a 1.11 times more than the E2 group. Both of them had different effect in promoting ERalpha, ERbeta, PR or PS2 mRNA.
Conclusion: Both genistein and apigenin have a strong estrogen-like effect. Although they have different effect in promoting estrogenic response genes (such as ERa, ERbeta, PR and PS2 mRNA), genistein shows a stronger activity than apigenin. It also suggests that the signaling pathways of phytoestrogens showing estrogen-like effect are not completely identical with estrogen pathways. The B-cycle position of flavonoids is one of the key sites to estrogen-like activity, and isoflavones (cycle B on site 3) show stronger estrogen-like activity than flavones (B-cycle lies in site 2).