Author(s): Gu L, Laly M, Chang HC, Prior RL, Fang N,
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Abstract Many health effects of soy foods are attributed to isoflavones. Isoflavones upon absorption present as free form, glucuronide, and sulfate conjugates in blood, urine, and bile. Little is known about the molecular forms and the relative concentrations of soy isoflavones in target organs. Acid hydrolysis or enzymatic hydrolysis (glucuronidases and sulfatases) was used to study isoflavone contents in the heart, brain, epididymis, fat, lung, testis, liver, pituitary gland, prostate gland, mammary glands, uterus, and kidney from rats fed diets made with soy protein isolate. The heart had the lowest isoflavone contents (undetectable), and the kidney had the highest (1.8 +/- 0.6 nmol/g total genistein; 3.0 +/- 1.1 nmol/g total daidzein). Acid hydrolysis released 20-60\% more aglycon in tissues than enzymatic digestion (p < 0.05), and both hydrolysis methods gave the same level of isoflavones in serum. Approximately 28-44\% of the total isoflavone content within the liver was unconjugated aglycon, and the remainder was conjugated mainly as glucuronide. The subcellular distribution of total isoflavones was 55-60\% cytosolic and 13-16\% in each of the nuclear, mitochondrial, and microsomal fractions. These results demonstrated that (1) soy isoflavones distribute in a wide variety of tissues as aglycon and conjugates and (2) the concentrations of isoflavone aglycons, which are thought to be the bioactive molecules, are in the 0.2-0.25 nmol/g range, far below the concentrations required for most in vitro effects of genistein or daidzein.
This article was published in J Agric Food Chem
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science