Estrogen receptor-α and aryl hydrocarbon receptor involvement in the actions of botanical estrogens in target cells.

Botanical estrogen (BE) dietary supplements are consumed by women as substitutes for loss of endogenous estrogens at menopause. To examine the roles of estrogen receptor α (ERα) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and their crosstalk in the actions of BEs, we studied gene regulation and proliferation responses to four widely used BEs, genistein, daidzein, and S-equol from soy, and liquiritigen from licorice root in breast cancer and liver cells. BEs and estradiol (E2), acting through ERα, stimulated proliferation, ERα chromatin binding and target-gene expression. BEs but not E2, acting through AhR, bound to xenobiotic response element-containing chromatin sites and enhanced AhR target-gene expression (CYP1A1, CYP1B1). While E2 and TCDD acted quite selectively through their respective receptors, BEs acted via both receptors, with their AhR activity moderated by negative crosstalk through ERα. Both ERα and AhR should be considered as mediators of the biology and pharmacology of BEs. Link

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