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Genes Nutr. Sep 2006; 1(3-4): 161–176.
PMCID: PMC3454832
Nutritional flavonoids impact on nuclear and extranuclear estrogen receptor activities
Paola Galluzzocorresponding author and Maria Marinocorresponding author
Department of Biology, University “Roma Tre”, Viale G. Marconi 446, I-00146 Roma, Italy
Maria Marino, Fax: +39-06-55176321, m.marino/at/uniroma3.it.
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Received March 14, 2006; Accepted April 30, 2006.
Abstract
Flavonoids are a large group of nonnutrient compounds naturally produced from plants as part of their defence mechanisms against stresses of different origins. They emerged from being considered an agricultural oddity only after it was observed that these compounds possess a potential protective function against several human degenerative diseases. This has led to recommending the consumption of food containing high concentrations of flavonoids, which at present, especially as soy isoflavones, are even available as overthecounter nutraceuticals. The increased use of flavonoids has occurred even though their mechanisms are not completely understood, in particular those involving the flavonoid impact on estrogen signals. In fact, most of the human health protective effects of flavonoids are described either as estrogenmimetic, or as antiestrogenic, while others do not involve estrogen signaling at all. Thus, the same molecule is reported as an endocrine disruptor, an estrogen mimetic or as an antioxidant without estrogenic effects. This is due in part to the complexity of the estrogen mechanism, which is conducted by different pathways and involves two different receptor isoforms. These pathways can be modulated by flavonoids and should be considered for a reliable evaluation of flavonoid, both estrogenicity and antiestrogenicity, and for a correct prediction of their effects on human health.
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Selected References
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