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Vol. 26, No. 3, 2010
Issue release date: 2010
Cell Physiol Biochem 2010;26:471–482
Original Paper

Reference Profile Correlation Reveals Estrogen-like Trancriptional Activity of Curcumin

Bachmeier B.E.1 · Mirisola V.2 · Romeo F.2 · Generoso L.3 · Esposito A.2 · Dell’Eva R.2 · Blengio F.2 · Killian P.H.1 · Albini A.3 · Pfeffer U.2
1Department of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Biochemistry, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany,2Functional Genomics, National Cancer Research Institute, Genoa, Italy,3IRCSS Multimedica, Milan, Italy,*these authors equally contributed to the work


Background: Several secondary metabolites from herbal nutrient products act as weak estrogens (phytoestrogens), competing with endogenous estrogen for binding to the estrogen receptors and inhibiting steroid converting enzymes. However, it is still unclear whether these compounds elicit estrogen dependent transcription of genes at physiological concentrations. Methods: We compare the effects of physiological concentrations (100 nM) of the two phytoestrogens Enterolactone and Quercetin and the suspected phytoestrogen Curcumin on gene expression in the breast cancer cell line MCF7 with the effects elicited by 17-β-estradiol (E2). Results: All three phytocompounds have weak effects on gene transcription; most of the E2 genes respond to the phytoestrogens in the same direction though to a much lesser extent and in the order Curcumin > Quercetin > Enterolactone. Gene regulation induced by these compounds was low for genes strongly induced by E2 and similar to the latter for genes only weakly regulated by the classic estrogen. Of interest with regard to the treatment of menopausal symptoms, the survival factor Birc5/survivin and the oncogene MYBL1 are strongly induced by E2 but only marginally by phytoestrogens. Conclusion: This approach demonstrates estrogenic effects of putative phytoestrogens at physiological concentrations and shows, for the first time, estrogenic effects of Curcumin.

 goto top of outline Author Contacts

PD Dr. Beatrice E. Bachmeier
Dept. of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Biochemistry
Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Nussbaumstr. 20, 80336 Munich (Germany)
Tel. +49-89-5160-2650, Fax +49-89-5160-4740

 goto top of outline Article Information

Accepted: May 05, 2010
Published online: August 24, 2010
Number of Print Pages : 12

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry (International Journal of Experimental Cellular Physiology, Biochemistry andPharmacology)

Vol. 26, No. 3, Year 2010 (Cover Date: 2010)

Journal Editor: F. Lang, Tübingen
ISSN: 1015–8987 (Print), eISSN: 1421–9778 (Online)

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