Red Clover and Estrogenic Effects

Research Communication

Trifolium pratense (Red Clover) Exhibits Estrogenic Effects In Vivo in Ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley Rats1

Joanna E. Burdette, Jianghua Liu, Dan Lantvit, Eula Lim, Nancy Booth, Krishna P. L. Bhat, Samad Hedayat, Richard B. Van Breemen, Andreas I. Constantinou, John M. Pezzuto, Norman R. Farnsworth and Judy L. Bolton2

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy and UIC/National Institutes of Health Center for Botanical and Dietary Supplements Research, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612 2To whom correspondence should be addressed.

E-mail: judy.bolton@uic.edu

Studies were conducted using an ovariectomized rat model to determine the estrogenic and antiestrogenic activity of Trifolium pratense L. (red clover) extracts. A red clover extract, standardized to contain 15% isoflavones was administered by gavage [250, 500 and 750 mg/(kg d)] to virgin, ovariectomized 50-d-old Sprague-Dawley rats, for 21 d in the presence and absence of 17-estradiol [50 g/(kg d)].

Estrogenic effects included an increase in uterine weight, vaginal cell cornification and mammary gland duct branching. Red clover produced a dose-dependent increase in uterine weight and differentiated vaginal cells at the two higher doses, but it did not stimulate cell proliferation in the mammary glands.

Neither antiestrogenic nor additive estrogenic properties were observed in any of the tissues studied. These data suggest that red clover extract is weakly estrogenic in the ovariectomized rat model.

2002 The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 132:27-30, 2002


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