The key involvement of estrogen receptor β and G-protein-coupled receptor 30 in the neuroprotective action of daidzein

Neuroscience. 2013 May 15;238:345-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.02.005. Epub 2013 Feb 16.


Phytoestrogens have received considerable attention because they provide an array of beneficial effects, such as neuroprotection. To better understand the molecular and functional link between phytoestrogens and classical as well as membrane estrogen receptors (ERs), we investigated the effect of daidzein on the glutamate-mediated apoptotic pathway. Our study demonstrated that daidzein (0.1-10μM) inhibited the pro-apoptotic and neurotoxic effects caused by glutamate treatment. Hippocampal, neocortical and cerebellar tissues responded to the inhibitory action of daidzein on glutamate-activated caspase-3 and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release in a similar manner. Biochemical data were supported at the cellular level by Hoechst 33342 and calcein AM staining. The sensitivity of neuronal cells to daidzein-mediated protection was most prominent in hippocampal cultures at an early stage of development 7th day in vitro. A selective estrogen receptor β (ERβ) antagonist, 4-[2-phenyl-5,7-bis(trifluoromethyl)pyrazolo[1,5,-a]pyrimidin-3-yl]phenol (PHTPP), and a selective G-protein-coupled receptor 30 (GPR30) antagonist, 3aS(∗),4R(∗),9bR(∗))-4-(6-Bromo-1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-3a,4,5,9b-3H-cyclopenta[c]quinoline (G15), reversed the daidzein-mediated inhibition of glutamate-induced loss of membrane mitochondrial potential, caspase-3 activity, and LDH release. A selective ERα antagonist, methyl-piperidino-pyrazole (MPP), did not influence any anti-apoptotic effect of daidzein. However, a high-affinity estrogen receptor antagonist, 7α,17β-[9-[(4,4,5,5,5-pentafluoropentyl)sulfinyl]nonyl]estra-1,3,5(10)-triene-3,17-diol (ICI) 182,780, and a selective GPR30 agonist, (±)-1-[(3aR(∗),4S(∗),9bS(∗))-4-(6-bromo-1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-3a,4,5,9b-tetrahydro-3H-cyclopenta[c]quinolin-8-yl]-ethanone (G1), intensified the protective action of daidzein against glutamate-induced loss of membrane mitochondrial potential and LDH release. In siRNA ERβ- and siRNA GPR30-transfected cells, daidzein did not inhibit the glutamate-induced effects. Twenty-four hour exposure to glutamate did not affect the cellular distribution of ERβ and GPR30, but caused greater than 100% increase in the levels of the receptors. Co-treatment with daidzein decreased the level of ERβ without significant changing of the GPR30 protein level. Here, we elucidated neuroprotective effects of daidzein at low micromolar concentrations and demonstrated that the phytoestrogens may exert their effects through novel extranuclear GPR30 and the classical transcriptionally acting ERβ. These studies uncover key roles of the ERβ and GPR30 intracellular signaling pathways in mediating the anti-apoptotic action of daidzein and may provide insight into new strategies to treat or prevent neural degeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / drug effects
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / metabolism*
  • Fulvestrant
  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology*
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / physiology
  • Mice
  • Neocortex / cytology
  • Neocortex / drug effects
  • Neocortex / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Quinolines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • 1,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4-methyl-5-(4-(2-piperidinylethoxy)phenol)-1H-pyrazole
  • 4-(6-bromo-1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl)-3a,4,5,9b-3H-cyclopenta(c)quinoline
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • GPER1 protein, mouse
  • Isoflavones
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Quinolines
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Fulvestrant
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Estradiol
  • daidzein
  • Caspase 3