J Vet Sci.  2004 Sep;5(3):227-234.

Exposure to genistein does not adversely affect the reproductive system in adult male mice adapted to a soy-based commercial diet

  • 1Department of Veterinary Medicine and Research Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 361-763, Korea. synam@cbu.ac.kr
  • 2Central Research Institute, Dr. Chungs Food Co., Ltd. Cheongju 360-290, Korea.
  • 3Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Chunchon 200-702, Korea.
  • 4Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Yong In University, Yongin 449-714, Korea.


Genistein, a soybean-originated isoflavone, is widely consumed by humans for putative beneficial health effects but its estrogenic activity may affect adversely the development of male reproductive system. Five-week-old ICR mice were purchased and fed with a soybean-based Purina Chow diet until 6 months of age. The animals were exposed by gavage to genistein (2.5 mg/kg/day) or 17beta-estradiol (7.5 microgram/kg/day) for five weeks. Corn oil was used for the negative control. The animals were fed the caseinbased AIN-76A diet throughout the experimental periods. There were no significant differences in body and organ weights of mice among experimental groups. No significant differences in sperm counts and sperm motile characteristics were found between the control and the genistein groups. Treatment of 17beta-estradiol caused a significant decrease in epididymal sperm counts compared to the control (p<0.05). The level of phospholipid hydroxide glutathione peroxidase in the epididymis of mice exposed to genistein was significantly higher than that of the control mice (p<0.05). 17beta-estradiol treatment caused a reduction of germ cells in the testis and hyperplasia of mucosal fold region in the prostate of mice. Genistein treatment did not cause any lesion in the testis, epididymis, and prostate. These results suggest that dietary uptake of genistein at adult stage of life may not affect male reproductive system and functions.


Estradiol; Genistein; Phospholipid hydroxide glutathione peroxidase; Sperm

MeSH Terms

Estrogens, Non-Steroidal/*pharmacology
Genitalia, Male/*drug effects/pathology
Glutathione Peroxidase/genetics/metabolism
Mice, Inbred ICR
Organ Size/drug effects/physiology
Prostate/drug effects/pathology
Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/veterinary
Sperm Count/veterinary
Sperm Motility/drug effects/physiology
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