An in vivo/in vitro model to assess endocrine disrupting activity of xenoestrogens in uterine leiomyoma. Academic Article uri icon


  • Xenoestrogens with endocrine disrupting activity have been associated with the dysregulation of reproductive function and promotion of malignancies in experimental animals and human populations. The high incidence of uterine leiomyomas, a benign estrogen-responsive neoplasm of the uterine myometrium, calls into question the potential influence of xenoestrogens in the pathogenesis of these tumors. An in vivo/in vitro animal model, the Eker rat, that can be used to assess the estrogen-like agonist activity of potential endocrine disruptors in the uterine myometrium is discussed. Using this model, several in vitro assays are developed that demonstrate that compounds from three major classes of xenoestrogens can mimic the effect of estrogen on leiomyoma cells and act as estrogen receptor (ER) agonists: phytoestrogens, organochlorine pesticides and pharmacologic agents. These compounds can stimulate transcription via the ER and upregulate the expression of an estrogen-responsive gene in uterine leiomyoma cells. The use of these in vitro assays has also advanced our ability to predict the agonist activity of potential therapeutic agents in the uterine myometrium. Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), while able to act as agonists in some tissues such as the bone and uterine endometrium, act as antagonists in vivo in the uterine myometrium and in our in vitro assays. This antagonist activity in the uterine myometrium suggests that SERMs may be useful in the treatment of uterine leiomyoma.

published proceedings

  • Ann N Y Acad Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Hodges, L. C., Hunter, D. S., Bergerson, J. S., Fuchs-Young, R., & Walker, C. L.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Hodges, LC||Hunter, DS||Bergerson, JS||Fuchs-Young, R||Walker, CL

publication date

  • December 2001