Environmental epigenetics and phytoestrogen/phytochemical exposures

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Jan;139:270-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.12.011. Epub 2012 Dec 27.


One of the most important environmental factors to promote epigenetic alterations in an individual is nutrition and exposure to plant compounds. Phytoestrogens and other phytochemicals have dramatic effects on cellular signaling events, so have the capacity to dramatically alter developmental and physiological events. Epigenetics provides one of the more critical molecular mechanisms for environmental factors such as phytoestrogens/phytochemicals to influence biology. In the event these epigenetic mechanisms become heritable through epigenetic transgenerational mechanisms the impacts on the health of future generations and areas such as evolutionary biology need to be considered. The current review focuses on available information on the environmental epigenetics of phytoestrogen/phytochemical exposures, with impacts on health, disease and evolutionary biology considered. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Phytoestrogens'.

Keywords: Environmental exposures; Epigenetics; Phytochemicals; Phytoestrogens; Review; Transgenerational.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Endocrine Disruptors / pharmacology
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Epigenomics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Humans
  • Phytoestrogens / pharmacology*


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Phytoestrogens