Assessment of the proliferative capacity of the flavanones 8-prenylnaringenin, 6-(1.1-dimethylallyl)naringenin and naringenin in MCF-7 cells and the rat mammary gland

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8-Prenylnaringenin (8-PN) and naringenin (Nar) are phytoestrogens found in food items and nutritional supplements, while 6-(1.1-dimethylallyl)naringenin (6-DMAN) is a component of an African plant. Besides their assumed beneficial effects they may promote mammary and endometrial cancer. We therefore assessed their proliferative and estrogenic potential on the mammary gland in vitro and in vivo. In competitive estrogen receptor (ER) ligand binding assays 8-PN displayed a high relative binding affinity for both ERs with a preference for ERα and had the strongest mitotic effect on MCF-7 cells among the test substances. In a three day exposure in young adult ovariectomized female rats 15 mg/kg 8-PN had the highest capacity to increase the number of terminal end buds (TEB) in the mammary gland and stimulated expression of proliferation markers in epithelial ductal cells, followed by 6-DMAN and Nar, but overall their capacity to stimulate proliferation was weak in comparison to 17β-Estradiol (E2).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-35
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular endocrinology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2014

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-2157-4711/work/142251652


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Amphiregulin/metabolism, Animals, Caseins/metabolism, Cell Count, Cell Cycle/drug effects, Cell Proliferation/drug effects, Epithelial Cells/cytology, Estrogen Receptor alpha/metabolism, Estrogen Receptor beta/metabolism, Female, Flavanones/administration & dosage, Humans, Inhibitory Concentration 50, Ki-67 Antigen/metabolism, MCF-7 Cells, Mammary Glands, Animal/cytology, Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen/metabolism, Rats, Inbred Lew, Receptors, Progesterone/metabolism