Evaluation of a recombinant yeast cell estrogen screening assay.
A wide range of chemicals with diverse structures derived from plant and environmental origins are reported to have hormonal activity. The potential for appreciable exposure of humans to such substances prompts the need to develop sensitive screening methods to quantitate and evaluate the risk to the public. Yeast cells transformed with plasmids encoding the human estrogen receptor and an estrogen responsive promoter linked to a reporter gene were evaluated for screening compounds for estrogenic activity. Relative sensitivity to estrogens was evaluated by reference to 17 beta-estradiol (E2) calibration curves derived using the recombinant yeast cells, MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, and a prepubertal mouse uterotrophic bioassay. The recombinant yeast cell bioassay (RCBA) was approximately two and five orders of magnitude more sensitive to E2 than MCF-7 cells and the uterotrophic assay, respectively. The estrogenic potency of 53 chemicals, including steroid hormones, synthetic estrogens, environmental pollutants, and phytoestrogens, was measured using the RCBA. Potency values produced with the RCBA relative to E2 (100) included estrone (9.6), diethylstilbestrol (74.3), tamoxifen (0.0047), alpha-zearalanol (1.3), equol (0.085), 4-nonylphenol (0.005), and butylbenzyl phathalate (0.0004), which were similar to literature values but generally higher than those produced by the uterotrophic assay. Exquisite sensitivity, absence of test compound biotransformation, ease of use, and the possibility of measuring antiestrogenic activity are important attributes that argue for the suitability of the RCBA in screening for potential xenoestrogens to evaluate risk to humans, wildlife, and the environment.
Coldham, NG; Dave, M; Sivapathasundaram, S; McDonnell, DP; Connor, C; Sauer, MJ
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