Ah receptor agonist activity in frequently consumed food items

W.J. de Waard, J.M.M.J.G. Aarts, A.A.C.M. Peijnenburg, T.M.C.M. de Kok, F.J. van Schooten, L.A.P. Hoogenboom

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20 Citations (Scopus)


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) receives much attention for its role in the toxicity of dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls. However, many other compounds have also been reported to bind and activate AhR, of which natural food components are of special interest from a human health perspective. Using the dioxin receptor-chemical-activated luciferase gene expression (DR CALUX®) bioassay, extracts from many food items frequently consumed in the Netherlands were screened to estimate the intake of natural AhR agonists (NAhRAs). Using the prototypical AhR agonist 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) as standard, it was estimated that the daily intake of NAhRAs might be considerably higher than the reported intake of dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls. Potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, bread, hamburgers, and grapefruit juice contained most NAhRAs. Food preparation and acid treatment can show a significant effect on AhR activation. The interaction of natural and xenobiotic AhR agonists should be taken into account when performing risk-benefit analysis of both types of compounds
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-787
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • aryl-hydrocarbon receptor
  • cytochrome-p450 1a1
  • mediated activity
  • calux-bioassay
  • in-vitro
  • indole-3-carbinol
  • dioxins
  • activation
  • 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin
  • indolo<3,2-b>carbazole

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