Oxidative metabolism enhances the cytotoxic and genotoxic properties of the soy isoflavone daidzein




Oxidative metabolism of daidzein (DAI) might result in the formation of hydroxylated metabolites. Here, we address the question whether these metabolites differ in their biological activity from the parent isoflavone, exemplified for the epidermal growth factor receptor and topoisomerase II, potentially resulting in an enhanced toxic profile.

Methods and results

In contrast to DAI, 6-hydroxydaidzein (6-HO-DAI) and 8-hydroxydaidzein (8-HO-DAI) were found to inhibit the tyrosine kinase activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor in an ELISA-based test system, but showed no effects within cells. Further, the oxidative metabolites suppressed the catalytic activity of topoisomerase II in the decatenation assay. In the in vivo complexes of enzyme to DNA (ICE) bioassay, 6-HO-DAI and 8-HO-DAI did not affect the level of covalent topoisomerase II–DNA intermediates within HT29 cells, thus arguing for a catalytic inhibition of topoisomerase II rather than poisoning activity. In contrast to DAI, 6-HO-DAI and 8-HO-DAI significantly increased the rate of DNA strand breaks in HT29 cells after 24-h incubation and caused a cell cycle delay in S-phase. Differences were also observed between the oxidative metabolites, with only 6-HO-DAI inducing apoptosis but not 8-HO-DAI.


These data indicate that oxidative metabolism of DAI generates metabolites with genotoxic properties where interference with topoisomerase II might play a role.