Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as estrogens and antiestrogens: Structure-activity relationships

K. Connor, K. Ramamoorthy, M. Moore, M. Mustain, I. Chen, S. Safe, T. Zacharewski, B. Gillesby, A. Joyeux, P. Balaguer

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215 Scopus citations


The effects of structure on the estrogenicity and antiestrogenicity of hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls were investigated using the following estrogen-sensitive assays: competitive binding to the rat and mouse cytosolic estrogen receptor (ER); immature rat and mouse uterine wet weight, peroxidase and progesterone receptor (PR) levels; induction of luciferase activity in HeLa cells stably transfected with a Gal4:human ER chimera and a 17mer-regulated luciferase reporter gene; proliferation of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells; induction of chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) activity in MCF-7 cells transiently transfected with a full-length human ER expression plasmid and a plasmid containing an estrogen-responsive vitellogenin A2 promoter linked to a CAT reporter gene. The chemicals synthesized for this study contained a 4-hydroxy group in one ring, a 2- or 3-chloro substituent meta or ortho to the hydroxyl group, and variable substitution (2',3',4',5'-, 2',3',4',6'-, 2',3',5',6'-tetrachloro and 2',4',6'-trichloro) in the chloro phenyl ring. The compounds included: 2,2',3',4',5'- (A), 2,2',3',4',6'- (B), and 2,2',3',5',6'-pentachloro- (C); 2,2',4',6'-tetrachloro-4-biphenylol (D); 2',3,3',4',5'- (E), 2',3,3',4',6'- (F), and 2',3,3',5',6'-pentachloro (G); and 2',3,4',6'-tetrachloro-4-biphenylol (H). With the exception of 2',3,4',6'-tetrachloro-4-biphenylol (H), all of the compounds competitively bound to the mouse and rat ER with relative binding amnities [compared to 17β-estradiol (E2)] varying from 1.4 X 10-3 to 5.3 x 10-5. The structure-ER binding relationships for the hydroxy-PCB congeners were different in the rat and mouse, and no dose-dependent estrogenic activities were observed in the mouse or rat uterus. Several hydroxy-PCB congeners exhibited antiestrogenic activity (primarily in the mouse uterus) and two compounds, 2,2',3',5',6- and 2,2',3',4',6'-pentachloro-4-biphenylol, inhibited E2-induced uterine wet weight, PR binding, and peroxidase activity in the mouse uterus. 2,2',3',4',5'- and 2,2',3',4',6'-Pentachloro-4-biphenylol induced CAT activity in MCF-7 cells transiently transfected with the Vit-CAT plasmid; the remaining congeners did not induce CAT activity but exhibited antiestrogenic activity in MCF-7 cells cotreated with 10-9 E2 plus 10-5 M hydroxy-PCBs. Complementary structure-estrogenicity relationships were observed utilizing the HeLa cell luciferase induction and MCF-7 cell proliferation assays. The placement of the 2-or 3-chloro groups in the phenolic ring had minimal effects on estrogenic activity, whereas 2,4,6-trichloro- and 2,3,4,6-tetrachloro substitution in the chlorophenyl ring (B, D, F, and H) were required for this response. Substitution in the phenolic ring was also not important for structure-antiestrogenicity relationships, and the most active compounds (A, C, E, and G) contained 2',3',4',5'- and 2',3',5',6'-tetrachlorophenyl groups. Thus, structure-estrogenicity antiestrogenicity relationships for this series of hydroxy-PCBs were complex and response-specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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