Effects of estrogen and phytoestrogens on endometrial leakage in ovariectomized rats and the related mechanisms.
Phytoestrogens, a group of plant-derived non-steroidal compounds that can behave as estrogens by binding to estrogen receptors, have drawn great attention for their potentially beneficial effects on human health. However, there are few studies investigating the potential side effects of phytoestrogens on the reproductive system. The present study was to elucidate the effects of 17?-estradiol (E2), progesterone (P4), and phytoestrogens genistein (Gen), resveratrol (Res), and phloretin (Phl) on eosinophilic infiltration of the ovariectomized rat uterus and endometrial vascular permeability, and to analyze the underlying mechanisms. The ovariectomized rats received daily subcutaneous injections of E2, E2+P4, P4, Gen, Res, Phl, or an equivalent volume of vehicle for 21 days, and sham-operated animals (Sham rats) were used as the controls. Hematoxylin-eosin staining revealed a marked increase in uterine eosinophilic infiltrations in ovariectomized rats treated with E2, E2+P4 or P4, which was associated with increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B), and tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?) proteins as determined by immunohistochemical and Western blot analysis. However, all three phytoestrogens had no markedly effect on the uterine eosinophilic infiltration and the expressions of VEGF, NF-?B, and TNF-? in the uterus of ovariectomized rats. Our data demonstrate that E2 alone or in combination with P4 increases uterine eosinophilic infiltration which is related with vascular hyperpermeability caused by VEGF, NF-?B and TNF-?, whereas phytoestrogens Gen, Res, and Phl, have no such an effect.