The aim of this study was to examine whether active metabolites of phytoestrogens (equol and para-ethyl-phenol) inhibit sensitivity of bovine corpus luteum (CL) to luteinizing hormone (LH) and to auto/paracrine luteotropic factors (prostaglandin E2-PGE2 and prostaglandin F2α-PGF2α), and whether they influence pulsatile progesterone (P4) secretion by the bovine CL. In in vivo experiments, high levels of equol and para-ethyl-phenol were found in plasma and in the CL tissue of heifers and cows fed a soy bean diet (2.5 kg/animal/day), along with lower concentrations of P4 (P<0.05). Both Prostaglandins (PG) and LH strongly stimulated P4 secretion in cultured pieces of CL that were collected from cows fed a standard diet (P<0.01). There was no effect of PGs and LH on P4 stimulation in CLs obtained from cows fed a diet rich in soy bean. Finally, we examined whether active metabolites of phytoestrogens participated in regulation of pulsatile P4 secretion and LH-stimulated P4 secretion in vitro using a microdialysis system. Equol and para-ethyl-phenol had no effect on basic and pulsatile P4 secretion in CLs during 240 min of perfusion when compared to the control (P<0.05). However, they inhibited LH-stimulated P4 secretion (P<0.05). Phytoestrogens and their metabolites may disrupt CL function by inhibiting PG- and LH-stimulated P4 secretion.
2006 Society for Reproduction and Development