Numerous studies have suggested that the lifetime dose of unopposed estrogen is a significant risk factor for breast and uterine cancer. Estradiol (E 2) plays a putative role as a tumor promoter through interaction with estrogen receptors but can also be metabolized to redox active and/or mutagenic semiquinones and quinones. Similarly, equine estrogens (components of certain hormone replacement therapy preparations) are converted to quinone metabolites. The use of hormone replacement therapy has also been associated with increased breast and endometrial cancer risk. Recently, metabolites of certain equine estrogens have been shown to inhibit human glutathione S-transferases (hGSTs). Since E 2 and equine estrogens share similarities in other biological interactions, we have investigated the inhibitory capacity of endogenously formed E 2 metabolites toward various hGSTs. The quinone metabolite of 2-hydroxy-17-β-estradiol (2-OH-E 2) was synthesized, and inhibition of hGST-mediated biotransformation of model substrates was assessed. Inhibition of purified recombinant hGSTM1-1 and hGSTA1-1 occurred in a concentration-dependent manner with IC 50-values of approximately 250 and 350 nM, respectively. hGSTs M2-2, P1-1 and T1-1 were significantly less sensitive to inhibition. Specific glutathione-conjugates of the estrogen quinone also potently inhibited hGSTM1-1 and hGSTA1-1. Mass spectrometry data indicate that the inhibition was not mediated via covalent adduction. Although we have demonstrated hGST inhibition via E 2 metabolites, our findings indicate that the isoform specificity and potency of GST inhibition by endogenous E 2 metabolites is different than that of equine estrogen metabolites.
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