International Mammalian Genome Society

The 16th International Mouse Genome Conference (2002)


M Legge
University of Otago

Liu C Y-Y, Cheesman E, McCormick SPA
University of Otago

Studies in humans have shown that consumption of soy protein reduces the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and increases high density lipoprotein (HDL). We have recently observed a switching of lipoprotein profiles in human apoB transgenic mice after placement onto a diet in high soy protein. Human apoB transgenic mice on a predominantly C57BL/6J background were imported from the USA. These mice contained a prominent LDL fraction in their plasma due to the over expression of the human apoB gene. Many months after importation, analysis of plasma lipoproteins from these animals revealed a depressed LDL peak and a subsequently lowered LDL/HDL ratio. At the same time it was observed that the reproductive performance of these animals was poor. These observations were suggestive of an estrogenic effect and prompted a chemical analysis of the mouse chow being fed to the animals. This analysis revealed high levels of the phytoestrogenic compounds, (180ug/g daidzein, 225ug/ggenistein and 60ug/g glycitein). On investigation it  was revealed that the protein fraction of the diet was almost solely comprised of soy protein (22.5% by weight). Switching of the animals to a low soy diet  with substantially lower levels of phytoestrogens (32ug/g daidzein, 54ug/g genistein and 26ug/g glycitein) reversed the effect on lipoproteins with the LDL/HDL ratio increasing from 0.32 to 0.8 within three months. The reproductive performance in these animals, however, did not recover during this time as indicated by vaginal smears that showed the animals were permanently in estrous.

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