Low Phytoestrogen Levels in Feed Increase Fetal Serum Estradiol Resulting in the “Fetal Estrogenization Syndrome” and Obesity in CD-1 Mice
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Although estrogenic chemicals can disrupt development of the reproductive system, there is debate about whether phytoestrogens in soy are beneficial, benign, or harmful. We compared reproductive and metabolic characteristics in male and female mice reared and maintained on non-soy low-phytoestrogen feed or soy-based high-phytoestrogen feed. Removing phytoestrogens from mouse feed produces an obese phenotype consistent with metabolic syndrome, and the associated reproductive system abnormalities are consistent with FES due to elevated endogenous fetal estradiol. Laboratory rodents may have become adapted to high-phytoestrogen intake over many generations of being fed soy-based commercial feed; removing all phytoestrogens from feed leads to alterations that could disrupt many types of biomedical research.
Environmental Health Perspectives, 116(3), 322-328, 2008.