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Xenoestrogenic gene expression: structural features of active polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Environmental toxicology and chemistry (2002)
  • Terry W Schultz, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • G D Sinks

Estrogenicity was assessed using the Saccharomyces cerevisiae-based Lac-Z reporter assay and was reported as the logarithm of the inverse of the 50% molar beta-galactosidase activity (log[EC50(-1)]). In an effort to quantify the relationship between molecular structure of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and estrogenic gene expression, a series of PAHs were evaluated. With noted exceptions, the results of these studies indicate that the initial two-dimensional structural warning for estrogenicity, the superpositioning of a hydroxylated aromatic system on the phenolic A-ring of 17-beta-estradiol, can be extended to the PAHs. This two-dimensional-alignment criterion correctly identified estrogenicity of 22 of the 29 PAHs evaluated. Moreover, the estrogenic potency of these compounds was directly related to the size of the hydrophobic backbone. The seven compounds classified incorrectly by this structural feature were either dihydroxylated naphthalenes or aromatic nitrogen-heterocyclic compounds; all such compounds were false positives. Results with dihydroxylated naphthalenes reveal derivatives that were nonestrogenic when superimposed on the phenolic A-ring of 17-beta-estradiol had the second hydroxyl group in the position of the C-ring or were catechol-like in structure. Structural alerts for nitrogen-heterocyclic compounds must take into account the position of the hydroxyl group and the in-ring nitrogen atom; compounds with the hydroxyl group and nitrogen atom involved with the same ring were observed to be nonactive.

Publication Date
April, 2002
Citation Information
Terry W Schultz and G D Sinks. "Xenoestrogenic gene expression: structural features of active polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons" Environmental toxicology and chemistry Vol. 21 Iss. 4 (2002)
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