Isoflavone genistein induces fluid secretion and morphological changes in the uteri of post-pubertal rats

Int J Med Sci. 2013;10(6):665-75. doi: 10.7150/ijms.5207. Epub 2013 Apr 2.


A reported increase in the incidence of infertility following high genistein intake could be related to alteration in the normal fluid volume and morphology of the uterus in adult female. In view of this, we investigated the effect of this compound on fluid secretion, fluid volume and morphology of the uterus in post-pubertal rats.

Methods: Ovariectomised SD rats were treated with 17-β oestradiol (E) (0.8 X 10(-4) mg/kg/day) and genistein (0.5, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg/day) for three days. Following drug treatment, in-vivo uterine perfusion was performed and the rate of fluid secretion and the volume of fluid in the uterus were determined via changes in weight (μl/min) and F-dextran concentration of the perfusate respectively. The animals were then sacrificed and the uteri were removed for weight determination, morphological analyses and proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression analyses by Western blotting.

Results: Subcutaneous genistein treatment resulted in a dose-dependent increase in fluid secretion rate, fluid volume and uterine wet weight. Treatment with 100 mg/kg/day genistein resulted in a remarkable increase in the rate of uterine fluid secretion, the volume of the uterine luminal fluid as well as the circumference of the uterine and uterine glandular lumen suggesting an excessive fluid accumulation. Meanwhile, there were evidence of glandular hyperplasia and an increase in the expression of PCNA following treatment with 50 and 100 mg/kg/day genistein.

Conclusion: High genistein intake could potentially cause adverse effects on the uterus by inducing excessive fluid secretion and accumulation as well as hyperplasia.

Keywords: endometrial hyperplasia.; genistein; uterine fluid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Genistein / administration & dosage*
  • Genistein / adverse effects
  • Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Infertility / chemically induced
  • Infertility / pathology*
  • Isoflavones / administration & dosage*
  • Isoflavones / adverse effects
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Ovariectomy
  • Rats
  • Uterus / drug effects
  • Uterus / pathology*


  • Isoflavones
  • isoflavanone
  • Genistein