Soy isoflavones enhance coronary vascular reactivity in atherosclerotic female macaques

Fertil Steril. 1997 Jan;67(1):148-54. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(97)81872-9.


Objective: To examine the effects of soy phytoestrogens on coronary vascular reactivity in atherosclerotic male and female rhesus monkeys.

Design: A prospective, randomized, blinded, controlled study.

Setting: Comparative Medicine Clinical Research Center of an academic medical center.

Patient(s): Twenty-two young adult rhesus monkeys with pre-existing diet-induced atherosclerosis.

Intervention(s): Monkeys were fed soy-based diets for 6 months identical in composition, except that the isoflavones were extracted from one flow-isoflavone) and intact in the other (high-isoflavone). Quantitative coronary angiography was performed at the end of the study period. Females in the low-isoflavone group under went a second angiography after an acute IV dose of genistein.

Main outcome measure(s): Percent change in diameter of the proximal left circumflex coronary artery in response to intracoronary acetylcholine and nitroglycerin, compared with control diameter.

Result(s): Arteries from males constricted in response to acetylcholine. Arteries from females in the low-isoflavone group constricted (-6.2% +/- 2.8%, mean +/- SEM), whereas arteries from females in the high-isoflavone group dilated (6.4% +/- 1.2%, mean +/- SEM). Intravenous administration of genistein caused dilation in the previously constricting low-isoflavone females (3.3% +/- 2.8%).

Conclusion(s): Like mammalian estrogens, dietary soy isoflavones enhance the dilator response to acetylcholine of atherosclerotic arteries in female monkeys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / drug effects*
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Genistein
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Vasoconstriction / drug effects


  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • Isoflavones
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • daidzein
  • Genistein