Author(s): Curran EM, Judy BM, Newton LG, Lubahn DB, Rottinghaus GE,
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Abstract Diets rich in soy phytoestrogens have many potential health benefits but isoflavones such as genistein may suppress cell mediated immune function. The effect of dietary phytoestrogens on the host response to infection has not been extensively examined. Mice were fed a diet containing soy phytoestrogens and infected with Mycobacterium avium to establish a chronic infection and inflammatory response. As phytoestrogens may act through classical oestrogen receptors (ER), mice deficient in ERalpha signalling and wild type mice were evaluated for a panel of Type 1-associated cytokines (IFNgamma, IL-12 and IL-18) in the spleen. IFNgamma production in the spleen was increased approximately 4-fold in ERalpha-deficient mice fed a casein-based diet over wild type mice fed a casein-based diet (P < 0.05), suggesting a role for ERalpha in suppressing IFNgamma production. IL-18 levels in spleens of wild type mice were decreased compared to ERalpha-deficient mice on a casein diet. Splenic IL-12 and IL-18 levels were not affected in wild type and ERalpha-deficient mice on the phytoestrogen containing diets, with the exception that whole soy increased IL-12 levels in the tissues of ERalpha deficient mice. We conclude that ERalpha and dietary phytoestrogens can influence production of key regulatory cytokines in response to chronic bacterial infection.
This article was published in Clin Exp Immunol
and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry