Planta Med 2008; 74 - PA346
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1084343

In vitro investigation of estrogenic – antiestrogenicl activity of extracts obtained from Greek Legumes

A Tsiapara 1, E Kassi 1, A Angelis 2, N Aligiannis 2, P Moutsatsou 1
  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical School, University of Athens, 75 MikrasAsias Str, Goudi 11257, Athens, Greece
  • 2Laboratory of Pharmacognosy, Department of Pharmacy, University of Athens, Panepistimioupolis, Gr 15771 Zografou, Athens, Greece

The rich Greek flora biodiversity, with a high percentage of endemic plants, includes a wide variety of legumes which play an important role in Greek diet. Common dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and the aerial parts of the Vicia faba contain a wide range of flavonoids, as well as some phenolic acids [1, 2]. These natural products constitute one of the major classes of phytoestrogens. In addition, the interest in the potential health phytoestrogens has increased with the findings that hormone replacement therapy is not as safe or effective as previously thought [3].

Therefore, it appeared very interesting to examine the estrogenic/antiestrogenic activities of Greek P. vulgaris (seeds and herb) and V. faba (herb). We investigated the ability of methanolic extracts derived from P. vulgaris and V. faba to induce luciferase activity in MCF-7 cells co-transfected with an ERE-driven luciferase reporter gene 2) and stimulate the differentiation and mineralization of osteoblastic cell culture (KS 483) by histochemical staining for Alizarin Red-S (AR-S). Our results demonstrate that all these methanolic extracts exhibited significant estrogenic effect (P<0.001), when were examined alone at concentration 1–100µg/ml. Co-incubation of extracts (1µg/ml) with 17β-estradiol (10-9M) inhibited significantly the E2-stimulated luciferase gene induction (P<0.001), thus suggesting their antiestrogenic activity. P. vulgaris herb increased significantly the number of mineralized modules in KS483 cells.

In conclusion, the P. vulgaris seeds, P. vulgaris herb and V. faba herb of Greek origin display significant antiestrogenic activity in MCF-7 cells while P. vulgaris herb favors mineralization in osteoblasts. Our results support that a diet enriched in legumes may be used for the prevention of breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Acknowledgements: The project is co-funded by the operational program 'Competitiveness' (EPAN)

References: 1. Lin, L.Z. et al. (2008) Food Chem. 107: 399–410; 2. Tomas-Lorent, F. et al. (1989) Phytochemistry 28: 1993–5; 3. Cornwell, T. et al. (2004) Phytochemistry 65: 995–1016;