Long‐Term Exposure to Isoflavones Alters the Hormonal Steroid Homeostasis‐Impairing Reproductive Function in Adult Male Wistar Rats

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The consumption of isoflavones is gaining popularity worldwide due to their beneficial effects on health. However, isoflavones are considered to be endocrine disruptors and cause deleterious effects on hormone‐sensitive organs, especially in males. Therefore, this study aimed to deter‐ mine if a continuous and prolonged exposure to isoflavones in adult males altered the endocrine axis effect of testicular function. For this purpose, seventy‐five adult male rats were administered with low and high mixtures of isoflavones (genistein and daidzein) for 5 months. The determination of steroid hormones (progesterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, 17β‐estradiol, and estrone sulphate) was carried out in serum and testicular homogenate samples. Sperm quality parameters and testicular histology were also determined. The results revealed that low and high doses of isoflavones promote a hormonal imbalance in androgen and estrogen production, resulting in a decrease in circulating and testicular androgen levels and an increase in estrogen levels. These results are associated with a reduction in the sperm quality parameters and a reduction in the testicular weight, both in the diameter of the seminiferous tubules and the height of the germinal epithelium. Altogether, these results suggest that a continuous ex‐ posure to isoflavones in adult male rats causes a hormonal imbalance in the testes that disrupts the endocrine axis, causing defects in testicular function.
Caceres, S.; Crespo, B.; Alonso‐Diez, A.; de Andrés, P.J.; Millan, P.; Silván, G.; Illera, M.J.; Illera, J.C. Long‐Term Exposure to Isoflavones Alter Hormonal Steroid Homeostasis Impairing Reproductive Function in Adult Male Wistar Rats. Nutrients 2023, 15, 1261.