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Korean J Pediatr 2012 August;55(8) :265-271.
Published online 2012 July 06.        doi:
Effects of phytoestrogen on sexual development
Shin Hye Kim (Kim SH), Mi Jung Park (Park MJ)
Department of Pediatrics, Sanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding Author: Mi Jung Park ,Tel: +82-2-950-1130, Fax: +82-2-951-1246, Email:
Copyright © 2012 by The Korean Pediatric Society
Phytoestrogen is an estrogenic compound that occurs naturally in plants. The most common sources of phytoestrogen are soybean products, which contain high levels of isoflavones. This compound, which has structural similarity with estrogen, can act as an estrogen receptor agonist or antagonist. Animal studies provide evidence of the significant effects of phytoestrogen on sexual development, including altered pubertal timing, impaired estrous cycling and ovarian function, and altered hypothalamus and pituitary functions. Although human studies examining the effects of phytoestrogen on sexual development are extremely limited, the results of some studies agree with those of the animal studies. In this paper, we review the possible mechanism of phytoestrogen action and the evidence showing the effects of phytoestrogen on sexual development in animal and human studies.
Keywords: Phytoestrogens | Puberty | Sexual development
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Supplementary Material  Supplementary Material
Effect of genistein on the sexual maturation in immature female rats  2009 January;52(1)
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