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Phytoestrogens are herbal polyphenolic compounds that exert various estrogen-like effects in animals and can be taken in easily from a foodstuff in daily life. The fallopian tube lumen, where transportation of the oocyte occurs, is lined with secretory cells and multi-ciliated epithelial cells. Recently, we showed that estrogen induces multi-ciliogenesis in the porcine fallopian tube epithelial cells (FTECs) through the activation of the estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) pathway and simultaneous inhibition of the Notch pathway. Thus, ingested phytoestrogens may induce FTEC ciliogenesis and thereby affect the fecundity. To address this issue, we added isoflavones (genistein, daidzein, or glycitin) and coumestan (coumestrol) to primary culture FTECs under air-liquid interface conditions and assessed the effects of each compound. All phytoestrogens except glycitin induced multi-ciliated cell differentiation, which followed Notch signal downregulation. On the contrary, the differentiation of secretory cells decreased slightly. Furthermore, genistein and daidzein had a slight effect on the proportion of proliferating cells exhibited by Ki67 expression. Ciliated-cell differentiation is inhibited by the ERβ antagonist, PHTPP. Thus, this study suggests that phytoestrogens can improve the fallopian tube epithelial sheet homeostasis by facilitating the genesis of multi-ciliated cells and this effect depends on the ERβ-mediated pathway.


Maobi Zhu, Sen Takeda, Tomohiko Iwano. Natural Herbal Estrogen-Mimetics (Phytoestrogens) Promote the Differentiation of Fallopian Tube Epithelium into Multi-Ciliated Cells via Estrogen Receptor Beta. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2021 Jan 30;26(3)

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PMID: 33573260

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