Endocrine Abstracts (2006) 11 P426

Prevalence of the phyto-oestrogen urinary metabolites enterodiol and enterolactone in patients under endocrine investigation

L Reilly, L Scobbie, CA Dorrian & AM Wallace


Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, United Kingdom.


Phyto-oestrogens are plant-derived compounds that have oestrogenic and/or anti-oestrogenic activity. They are constituents of many human foodstuffs but exposure is on the increase due to increasing availability of ‘herbal’ type medicines. The current study was initiated following the identification of large concentrations of lignan related phyto-oestrogen metabolites in the urine from a girl under investigation for precocious puberty.

A GC-MS procedure for measuring steroid metabolites was adapted to identify the urinary metabolites enterodiol (END) and entrolactone (ENL). A total of 421 (149 Male; 272 Female) urine samples were received over a one-year period for analyses of steroid and related metabolites as part of the investigation of endocrine-related disorders.

END and/or ENL were detected in the majority of samples (75.6%) collected from patients greater than 5 years of age. In children under the age of 5 years only 32% had detectable concentrations. In babes (<1 yr) no metabolites were detected.

In conclusion we have demonstrated that the phyto-oestrogen metabolites END and ENL are detectable in the urine of many children and adults under investigation for endocrine disorders. More detailed quantitative investigations and comparisons with a healthy population are currently in progress to assess more fully the clinical significance of these findings.

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