Identification of an endocrine disrupting agent from corn with mitogenic activity

Barry M. Markaverich, Mary Ann Alejandro, David Markaverich, Lois Zitzow, Nancy Casajuna, Nathan Camarao, Jamal Hill, Ken Bhirdo, Robert Faith, John Turk, Jan R. Crowley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A mitogenic agent in corncob bedding and fresh corn products disrupts sexual behavior and estrous cyclicity in rats. The mitogenic activity resides in an isomeric mixture of linoleic acid derivatives with a tetrahydrofuran ring and two hydroxyl groups (THF-diols) that include 9, (12)-oxy-10, 13-dihydroxystearic acid and 10, (13)-oxy-9, 12-dihydroxystearic acid. Synthetic THF-diols stimulated breast cancer cell proliferation in vitro and disrupted the estrous cycle in female rats at oral doses of ∼0.30 mg/kg body weight/day. Exposure to THF-diols may disrupt endocrine function in experimental animals at doses ∼200 times lower than classical phytoestrogens, promote proliferation of breast or prostate cancer, and adversely affect human health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-700
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


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