Detection of xenoestrogens in serum after immunoprecipitation of endogenous steroidal estrogens

Kala Natarajan, James W. Overstreet, Jane M. Rogers, Michael S. Denison, Jiangang Chen, Peter N. Lohstroh, Daniel S. McConnell, Bill L. Lasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this article we report a simple and efficient method for detecting nonsteroidal estrogens in a biologic sample. This method uses polyclonal antibodies to estradiol (E2) to immunoprecipitate these major biologically active steroidal estrogens, leaving behind the nonsteroidal estrogens, which are then detected in a cell-based transcriptional activation bioassay for estrogen receptor agonist. The immunoprecipitation method effeciently removed 99% of radiolabeled E2 and estrone (E1) from human serum. In experiments in which supraphysiologic concentrations of E2 and E1 to human serum, all of the immunoreactive estrogens were still removed by the immunoprecipitation protocol. We carried out an in vivo validation study of this method in which we treated female macaques with the xenoestrogen nonylphenol (NP), during the late follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. We used blood samples collected before and after treatment to evaluate and characterize endogenous and exogenous serum estrogens. An immunoassay for E2 did not detect the NP in treated monkeys. The cell-based bioassay also did not detect the estrogenic activity of NP because of its saturation by the endogenous serum steroidal estrogens. However, when steroidal estrogens were removed by immunoprecipitation, we detected the estrogenic activity of NP in the bioassay. Thus, this approach is appropriate for detecting exogenous, nonsteroidal estrogens in serum samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-795
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cell bioassay
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Nonylphenol
  • Steroidal estrogens
  • Xenoestrogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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