Biological measurement of estrogenic activity in urine and bile conjugates with the in vitro ER-Calus reporter gene assay

J. Legler, A. Jonas, J. Lahr, A.D. Vethaak, A. Brouwer, A.J. Murk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although estrogens are excreted as biologically inactive conjugates, they can be reconverted to an active form, possibly by bacteria. A simple method was developed to deconjugate estrogen metabolites present in human urine and fish bile back to active estrogens by enzymatic hydrolysis with b-glucuronidase or live Escherichia coli cells. Deconjugated extracts were tested for estrogenic activity in the in vitro stable estrogen receptor–mediated chemical-activated luciferase gene expression (ER-CALUX) assay. Estrogen glucuronides in urine obtained from human males and females were effectively converted to active forms after incubation with b-glucuronidase or E. coli. The highest estrogenic activity was found in deconjugated metabolites from urine of a pregnant woman, in which levels up to 3,000 nmol estradiol equivalents per liter of urine were found after overnight incubation of urine with E. coli. Bile sampled from male bream and flounder from various freshwater and marine locations was also deconjugated and a good correlation was found between high biliary estrogenic activity and elevated levels of xenoestrogenic activity in surface water as well as in plasma vitellogenin. Therefore, the measurement of deconjugated bile could form a useful (indirect) biomarker for internal dose of xenoestrogens in male fish
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-479
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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