Consuming Genistein Improves Survival Rates in the Absence of Laxative in ΔF508-CF Female Mice

Nutrients. 2018 Oct 3;10(10):1418. doi: 10.3390/nu10101418.


Genistein is a naturally occurring isoflavone found in soy. Genistein has been shown to increase the open probability of the most common cystic fibrosis (CF) disease-associated mutation, ∆F508-CFTR. Mice homozygous for the ∆F508 mutation are characterized with severe intestinal disease and require constant laxative treatment for survival. This pathology mimics the intestinal obstruction (meconium ileus) seen in some cystic fibrosis patients. This study tested whether dietary supplementation with genistein would reduce the dependence of the ∆F508 CF mouse model on laxatives for survival, thereby improving mortality rates. At weaning (21 days), homozygous ∆F508 mice were maintained on one of three diet regimens for a period of up to 65 days: normal diet, normal diet plus colyte, or genistein diet. Survival rates for males were as follows: standard diet (38%, n = 21), standard diet plus colyte (83%, n = 42) and genistein diet (60%, n = 15). Survival rates for females were as follows: standard diet (47%, n = 19), standard diet plus colyte (71%, n = 38), and genistein diet (87%, n = 15). Average weight of male mice fed genistein diet increased by ~2.5 g more (p = 0.006) compared to those with colyte treatment. Genistein diet did not change final body weight of females. Expression of intestinal SGLT-1 increased 2-fold (p = 0.0005) with genistein diet in females (no change in males, p = 0.722). Expression of GLUT2 and GLUT5 was comparable between all diet groups. Genistein diet reduced the number of goblet cells per micrometer of crypt depth in female (p = 0.0483), yet was without effect in males (p = 0.7267). The results from this study demonstrate that supplementation of diet with genistein for ~45 days increases the survival rate of female ∆F508-CF mice (precluding the requirement for laxatives), and genistein only improves weight gain in males.

Keywords: genistein; mouse; survival; ∆F508-CF.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / mortality
  • Cystic Fibrosis / pathology
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Electrolytes / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Genistein / administration & dosage*
  • Goblet Cells / pathology
  • Homozygote
  • Intestinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Intestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Jejunum / pathology
  • Laxatives / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mutation*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / administration & dosage
  • Survival Rate


  • Cftr protein, mouse
  • Electrolytes
  • Golytely
  • Laxatives
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Genistein