Detection of estrogenically active substances in diets for sows by an in vitro bioassay supported by HPLC analysis

Winter, P.; Nau, H.; Lampen, A.; Kamphues, J.

There is considerable evidence that exogenous estrogenic compounds can have adverse effects on fertility. The main reason cited in literature for hyperestrogenism in pigs is contamination of feedstuffs by the mycotoxin zearalenone (Boehm, 2000), but further estrogenically active substances might also be involved in cases of impaired fertility with symptoms like enlarged, red-coloured vulvae in piglets, irregular estrus cycles and anestrus of sows (Bennetts et al., 1946; Drane et al., 1981). It is well known that soy used in diets for pigs as a main protein source contains phytoestrogens. Amongst them, isoflavones like genistein and daidzein are of particular interest. Aim of this study was to optimize and use an established bioassay (Kluczka, 2003) to determine estrogenic activity in feedstuffs for pigs related to isoflavones and further substances with estrogenic potential. This bioassay is a reporter gene assay based on stably transfected human embryonal kidney cells (HEK 293) that contains either alpha or beta estrogen receptor (alpha- or beta-HEK). The estrogenic activity measured in the luciferase assay was expressed in estradiol-equivalents (EEQ) and the results were compared with the isoflavone content (genistein, daidzein) obtained by chemical analysis using high performance liquid chromatography-Ultraviolet (HPLC-UV). Mean estrogenic activity in diets fed to sows in herds with altered fertility was 275.8 microg EEQ/kg feed in alpha-HEK cells and 295.0 microg EEQ/kg feed in beta-HEK cells. Feedstuffs from herds without any altered fertility showed an average estrogenic activity of 204.9 microg EEQ/kg feed in alpha-HEK and 213.3 microg EEQ/kg feed in beta-HEK. The estrogenic activity was strongly related to the concentration of the isoflavones (alpha-HEK, r(2)=0.9488; beta-HEK, r(2)=0.9427). Clinically relevant zearalenone concentrations (>50-150 microg/kg feed) displayed estrogenic effects in the bioassay that did not differ significantly from those caused by high isoflavone concentration because of the use of soy as protein source

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Winter, P. / Nau, H. / Lampen, A. / et al: Detection of estrogenically active substances in diets for sows by an in vitro bioassay supported by HPLC analysis. 2008.

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