Molecular medicine reports

Zeranol stimulates proliferation and aromatase activation in human breast preadipocytes.

PMID 27220457


Aromatase is a crucial enzyme for the biosynthesis of estrogens and is involved in the process of breast carcinogenesis. Concerns have been raised regarding the effects of environmental estrogens as potential regulators of aromatase expression in human breast cells. Zeranol is a non‑steroidal agent with potent estrogenic activity, which is widely used as a growth promoter for cattle in certain countries. The present study hypothesized that aromatase expression and activity may be elevated by low dose zeranol exposure, providing a source of estrogens that may stimulate cell proliferation. In the present study, primary cultured human breast preadipocytes were used as an inxa0vitro model. The effects of zeranol on cell proliferation were measured using the MTS assay, aromatase expression levels were determined by immunocytochemical staining and reverse transcription‑polymerase chain reaction, and aromatase enzyme activity and estrogen production were analyzed using corresponding assay kits. The results demonstrated that low dose zeranol (2‑50xa0nM) was able to significantly promote cell proliferation, aromatase mRNA expression, aromatase activity and estrogen production in primary cultured human breast preadipocytes, thus suggesting that zeranol may act as an aromatase activator. The findings of the present study suggest that zeranol promotes breast cancer cell growth by stimulating aromatase activation and increasing estrogen biosynthesis in adipose tissue.