Isoflavones have generated much attention due to their potential positive effects in various diseases. Phytoestrogens especially equol can be found in bovine milk, as feed ration for dairy cows is comprised of plants containing phytoestrogens. The aim of this study was to analyze the changes in hepatic gene expression after dietary intake of milk high and low in isoflavones. In addition to pelleted feed female NMRI mice were offered water, water added either 17β-estradiol, equol, Tween 80, and milk high and low in isoflavone content for a week. Gene expression was analyzed using an array qPCR kit. It was revealed that Tween 80 and 17β-estradiol upregulated both phase I and phase II genes to the same extent whereas equol alone, high and low isoflavone milk did not alter the expression of phase I genes but decreased the expression of phase II genes. This study shows that dietary isoflavones can regulate the transcription of especially phase II liver enzymes which potentially could give rise to an increase in reactive oxygen metabolites that may contribute to the development of cancer.
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