Preconception exposure to dietary levels of genistein affects female reproductive outcomes

Reprod Toxicol. 2017 Dec:74:174-180. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2017.09.014. Epub 2017 Sep 29.


Genistein is a phytoestrogen found in soy and soy-based products. Previously, we found that genistein adversely affected estradiol levels and follicle growth in vitro. Proper hormone production and follicle growth are key regulators of normal fertility. Therefore, we hypothesized that genistein adversely affects female fertility and pregnancy outcomes. To test this hypothesis, we dosed sexually mature female CD-1 mice (35days) with 0, 300, 500, or 1000ppm genistein for 30, 60, 150, and 240days. At the end of the dosing periods, we measured mating rate, pregnancy rate, fertility rate, gestation time, parturition time, pup mortality, litter size, average pup weight, and estradiol and progesterone levels. We found that chronic, preconception exposure to genistein affects gestation time, parturition time, litter size, pup weight, and pup mortality. Additionally, genistein exposure for 240days appears to have a protective effect on fertility rate, but does not affect hormone levels in vivo.

Keywords: Fertility; Genistein; Hormones; Preconception exposure; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diet
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Genistein / toxicity*
  • Litter Size / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / growth & development
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / growth & development
  • Phytoestrogens / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Uterus / drug effects
  • Uterus / growth & development


  • Phytoestrogens
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Genistein