Regulation of osteoblastic phenotype and gene expression by hop-derived phytoestrogens

Katharina E. Effenberger, Steven A. Johnsen, David G. Monroe, Thomas C. Spelsberg, Johannes J. Westendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Certain plant-derived compounds show selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) activity and may therefore be an alternative to the conventional hormone replacement therapy, which prevents osteoporosis but is also associated with an increased risk of breast and endometrial cancers. In the current study, we tested the effects of the hop-derived compounds 8-prenylnaringenin, 6-prenylnaringenin, xanthohumol and isoxanthohumol (1) to modulate markers of differentiation and gene expression in osteoblasts and (2) to regulate proliferation in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Additionally, we analyzed the ER-binding affinities of these hop compounds as well as the ER-mediation of their effects. Bone-forming activity and ER-subtype specificity were investigated by measuring alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity in hFOB/ERα cells and regulation of gene transcription for AP, interleukin-6, pS2 and von Willebrand factor (VWF) in U-2 OS/ERα and U-2 OS/ERβ cells. Our results demonstrate that AP, pS2 and VWF mRNA levels are significantly increased by the compounds in an estrogen-like manner via both ERα and ERβ, while IL-6 is down-regulated in U-2 OS/ERα cells. Consistently, AP enzymatic activity is up-regulated by all compounds in hFOB/ERα9 cells. Depending on their concentration, all compounds show proliferative effects in MCF-7 cells. Except for 8-PN the hop constituents display an ERβ-preference. Reversal of estrogen-specific AP-induction in Ishikawa cells indicates an ER-regulated mechanism. Finally, the flavonoids display cytotoxic effects only at high concentrations (≥10-4 M). In summary, we have demonstrated for the first time that specific phytoestrogen compounds found in hop extracts exert estrogen-like activities on bone metabolism. Regarding a potential for use in osteoporosis-prevention therapy, the dosage of a phytoestrogen, which is taken, will play an important role concerning a desired in vivo profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-399
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Gene expression
  • HRT
  • Hop plant
  • Ligand-binding affinity
  • Osteoblast-like cells
  • Osteoporosis
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Proliferation
  • SERM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of osteoblastic phenotype and gene expression by hop-derived phytoestrogens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this