It is becoming increasingly apparent that dietary factors may play a role in the etiology of hormone dependent neoplasias. It has been hypothesized that estrogens play some role in the etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in the canine. The presence of estrogen receptor binding activity in a fraction of canine urine purified by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) that did not correspond to estriol, estradiol, estrone or any of their primary metabolites was observed in the present study. We used thermospray-mass spectrometry and GC-MS to identify the phytoestrogens daidzein, equol, formononetin and genistein in HPLC purified fractions of urine obtained from male beagles. Using the same techniques we also confirmed the presence of daidzein and genistein in the commercial diet fed to these same dogs. Using the immature rat uterine cytosol estrogen receptor assay, relative binding affinities of 0.08, 1.1, < 0.01 and 3.9% were obtained for daidzein, equol, formononetin and genistein, respectively when compared to estradiol (100%). In conclusion, phytoestrogens are present in urine of male beagles. Moreover, the commercial diet fed to these dogs contains isoflavones which can be converted to equol by intestinal microflora. These results suggest the need for investigations of phytoestrogens (e.g. equol) excreted into the urine daily and its relationship to the incidence and severity of BPH in the dog.
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