European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 221, Issue 6, pp 828–833 | Cite as

Estrogen-like effects of ethanol extracts from several Chinese legumes on MCF-7 cell

  • Qing-wei Zhao
  • Bo Li
  • Nadine Weber
  • Yi-jia LouEmail author
  • Peter Proksch
Original Paper


Ethanol extracts of several Chinese legumes were prepared and their estrogen-like activities were examined using the modified MCF-7 cell proliferation assay method (E-SCREEN assay). The possible mechanisms were addressed using cell cycle analysis and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) measurement in which a pure estrogen receptor antagonist ICI182,780 was employed as the tool agent. The legumes selected in this study were Mung bean (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek), Adzuki bean (Phaseolus angularis Wight.), Black soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.), Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.), Broad bean (Vicia faba L.), Pea (Pisum sativum L.), Common bean I (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and Common bean II (Phaseolus vulgaris var. humilis Alief), respectively. The results showed that ethanol extracts of Adzuki bean (100  μg/ml), Black soybean (1–200 μg/ml) and Lima bean (100 μg/ml), could strongly stimulated the proliferation of MCF-7 cells (P<0.01 vs. control), of which the estrogen-like effects of the one from Adzuki bean and Lima bean were the firstly reported. Cell cycle analysis revealed that the proliferation stimulatory effects of ethanol extracts of Adzuki bean, Black soybean and Lima bean were associated with a significant increase in the number of MCF-7 cells in S phase and in the G2/M population, similar to those of 17β-estradiol (E2). Using RT-PCR measurement, it was found that ethanol extracts of Adzuki bean, Black soybean and Lima bean could induce pS2 transcription in MCF-7 cells. Moreover, these reactions could be significantly inhibited by the specific estrogen receptor antagonist ICI182,780 (P<0.01 vs. the same concentration of compound without treatment of ICI182,780), suggesting that ethanol extracts of Adzuki bean, Black soybean and Lima bean exhibited estrogen-like activities through the estrogen response pathway by interacting with the estrogen receptor.


Adzuki bean Lima bean MCF-7 cell Estrogenic activity Cell cycle analysis Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) 



This work was supported by Sino-German Research Project of NSFC-DFG, No. GZ051-3 (147), the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30472112.


  1. 1.
    Aldercreutz H, Markkanen H, Watanabe S (1993) Lancet 342:1209–1210CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kronenberg F, Fugh-Berman A (2002) Ann Intern Med 137:805–813PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sarkar FH, Li Y (2003) Cancer Invest 21:744–757PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Adlercreutz H (1998) Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 217:241–246PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Santti R, Makela S, Strauss L, Korkman J, Kostian ML (1998) Toxicol Ind Health 14:223–237PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mazur WM, Duke JA, Wähälä K, Rasku S, Adlercreutz H (1998) J Nutr Biochem 9:193–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Manach C, Scalbert A, Morand C, Remesy C, Jimenez L (2004) Am J Clin Nutr 79:727–747PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tsao R, Yang R (2003) J Chromatogr A 1018:29–40CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Korner W, Hanf V, Schuller W, Kempter C, Metzger J, Hagenmaier H (1999) Sci Total Environ 225:33–48CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Perez P, Pulgar R, Olea-Serrano F, Villalobos M, Rivas A, Metzler M, Pedraza V, Olea N (1998) Environ Health Perspect 106:167–174PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mosmann T (1983) J Immunol Methods 65:55–63CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wang ZQ, Lou YJ (2004) Eur J Pharmacol 504:147–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Messina MJ (1999) Am J Clin Nutr 70:439S–450SPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Boue SM, Wiese TE, Nehls S, Burow ME, Elliott S, Carter-Wientjes CH, Shih BY, McLachlan JA, Cleveland TE (2003) J Agric Food Chem 51:2193–2199CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ososki AL, Kennelly EJ (2003) Phytother Res 17:845–869CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Masiakowski P, Breathnach R, Bloch J, Gannon F, Krust A, Chambon P (1982) Nucl Acids Res 10:7895–7903PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Brown AM, Jeltsch JM, Roberts M, Chambon P (1984) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 81:6344–6348PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qing-wei Zhao
    • 1
  • Bo Li
    • 1
  • Nadine Weber
    • 2
  • Yi-jia Lou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Proksch
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmaceutical SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeoples' Republic of China
  2. 2.Institut für Pharmazeutische Biologie und BiotechnologieHeinrich-Heine-Universtität DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

Personalised recommendations