A high isoflavone soy protein diet and intravenous genistein delay rejection of rat cardiac allografts

Timothy P. O'Connor, Daniel A. Liesen, Paul C. Mann, Lori Rolando, William J. Banz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Genistein, a soy isoflavone, has in vitro immunosuppressive properties. We investigated whether genistein or dietary soy protein containing isoflavones could influence the outcome of rat cardiac allografts, Lewis rats were fed a diet with protein from high isoflavone soy protein fraction (HIS), casein (CAS) or casein with isoflavones added (Cl) starting 1 wk before heart transplants from Wistar Furth donors, and continuing throughout the study. HIS-fed rats had significantly prolonged time to rejection compared with CAS- and Cl-fed recipients (10.8 ± 2.62 vs. 7.18 ± 0.75 and 7.22 ± 0.44 d, P < 0.001). Intravenous genistein [20mg/(kg · d) for 14 dj significantly prolonged heart survival compared with controls and dissolvent-treated recipients (23.2 ± 7.4 vs. 8.4 ± 1.3 and 11.4+/3.6 d, P < 0.0005), and had an additive effect when given to heart recipients also receiving low dose cyclosporine for 7 d (30.8 ± 2.3 vs. 23.4 ± 2.4 d, P < 0.005). Concanavalin A-stimulated lymphocytes, isolated from Lewis rats given intraperitoneal genistein for 7 d, had decreased production of interferon γ compared with controls or dimethyl sulfoxide-treated groups (22.6 ± 9.9 vs 149 ± 105 and 154 ± 103 μg/L, P < 0.05). In conclusion, a high isoflavone soy diet and intravenous genistein, but not isoflavone extract alone, delay rejection of rat cardiac allografts, with an additive effect in cyclosporine-treated rats. In addition, intraperitoneal genistein has immunosuppressive properties in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2283-2287
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Allograft
  • Genistein
  • Isoflavone
  • Rats
  • Rejection
  • Soy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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