Identification of a Novel Phytoestrogen: Trigonelline
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Coffee contains many bioactive compounds, one of which is trigonelline (TRG). Few studies have been performed to ascertain its effects on mammalian cells. However, TRG has been shown to have antimicrobial properties against enterobacteria, and has been found to increase formation of neurites in neuroblastoma cells. We were interested in determining whether trigonelline demonstrates estrogenic properties by activating the estrogen receptor. Estrogen dependent breast cancer (MCF-7) cells were used for cell proliferation assays to examine whether the compound is indeed estrogenic. In a dose response study, TRG stimulated MCF-7 cell proliferation. Even in doses as low as 100pM, cell growth was significantly increased. ICI, an estrogen receptor antagonist, inhibited TRG stimulated cellular proliferation in MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, co-treatment with estradiol and TRG stimulated MCF-7 cell growth to a greater extent than estradiol alone. Estrogen response element reporter assays were studied. These data establish that TRG promotes MCF-7 cell growth via the estrogen receptor and is estrogenic by nature. Therefore, trigonelline is a novel phytoestrogen.
Yackley, Katarina M. (2009). Identification of a Novel Phytoestrogen: Trigonelline. Available electronically from