The Effects of Acth, Phytoestrogens and Estrogens on Corticosterone Secretion by Gander Adrenocortical Cells in Breeding and Nonbreeding Seasons


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of ACTH, phytoestrogens (genistein, daidzein, biochanin A and coumestrol), and animal estrogens (estradiol and estrone) on corticosterone secretion by isolated adrenocortical cells of the ganders in breeding (April) and nonbreeding seasons (July). ACTH stimulated corticosterone output in the breeding season. In July (photorefractoriness and postbreeding molt) ACTH had no effect on corticosterone production. Coumestrol reduced corticosterone secretion by the cells obtained in nonbreeding season. Other examined phytoestrogens did not affect corticosterone production. Estrogens showed differentiated effects. Estradiol stimulated the corticosterone output in breeding season; estrone inhibited corticosterone release in July. The season can probably affect sensitivity of isolated gander adrenal cells, especially to ACTH. It seems that goose adrenocortical cells, in contrast to the mammalian cells, can be weakly sensitive to phytoestrogens.


  1. 1.

    Barna, I., Koenig, J. I., Peczely, P. (1998) Characteristic of the proopiomelanocortin system in the outdoor-breed domestic gander. II. Seasonal and circardian rhythmicity; effect of ether stress and lipopolysaccharide administration. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 109, 52–59.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Bilinska, B., Stoklosowa, S. (1977) Activity of A5, 3-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase in cultured interstitial cells of mouse testes. Endocrinol. Exp. 11, 169–174.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Carsia, R. V., Scanes, C. G., Malamed, S. (1987) Polyhormonal regulation of avian and mammalian corticosteroidogenesis in vitro. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 88A, 131–140.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Kau, M. M., Lo, M. L., Tsai, S. Ch., Chen, I. I., Lu, Ch. Ch., Lin, H., Wang, S. W., Wang, P. S. (1999) Effects of estradiol on aldosterone secretion in ovariectomized rats. J. Cell. Biochem. 73, 137–144.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Kotrschal, K., Dittami, J., Hirschenhauser, K., Mostl, E., Peczely, P. (2000) Effects of physiological and social challenges in different seasons on fecal testosterone and corticosterone in male domestic geese (Anser domesticus). Acta Ethol. 2, 115–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Kotrschal, K., Hirschenhauser, K., Mostl, E. (1998) The relationship between social stress and dominance is seasonal in greylag geese. Anim. Behav. 55, 171–176.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Kotwica, G., Kaminska, B., Franczak, A., Kurowicka, B., Staszkiewicz, J., Skowronski, M. T., Krazinski B., Okrasa, S. (2004) The effect of oxytocin on Cortisol and corticosterone secretion in cyclic gilts - in vivo and in vitro studies. Reprod. Biol. 4, 35–50.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Kuiper, G. G., Lemmen, J. G., Carlsson, B., Corton J. Ch., Safe, S. H., van der Saag, P. T., van der Burg, B., Gustafsson, J. A. (1998) Interaction of estrogenic chemicals and phytoestrogens with estrogen receptor 3. Endocrinology 139, 4252–4263.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Leopold, A. S., Erwin, M., Oh, J., Browning, B. (1976) Phytoestrogens: adverse effects on reproduction in California quail. Science 191, 98–100.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Lien, R. J., Cain, J. R., Beasom, S. L. (1987) Effects of dietary and parenteral estrogens on bobwhite reproduction. Poul. Sci. 66, 154–161.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Lo M. J., Chang, L. L., Wang, P. S. (2000) Effects of estradiol on corticosterone secretion in ovariec-tomized rats. J. Cell. Biochem. 77, 560–568.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Lundh, T. (1995) Metabolism of estrogenic isoflavones in domestic animals. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 208, 33–39.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Mazur, W. M., Duke, J. A., Wahala, K., Rasku, S., Adlercreutz, H. (1998) Isoflavonoids and lignans in legumes: Nutritional and health aspects in humans. J. Nutr. Biochem. 9, 193–200.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Mesiano, S., Katz, S. L., Lee, J. Y., Jaffe, R. B. (1999) Phytoestrogen alter adrenocortical function: genistein and daidzein suppress glucocorticoid and stimulate androgen production by cultured adrenal cortical cells. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 84, 2443–2449.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Murkies, A. L., Wilcox, G., Davis, S. R. (1998) Clinical review 92: Phytoestrogens. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 83, 297–303.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Nowak, K. W., Neri, G., Nussdorfer, G. G., Malendowicz, L. K. (1995) Effects of sex hormones on the steroidogenic activity of dispersed adrenocortical cells of the rat adrenal cortex. Life Sci. 57, 833–837.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Ohno, S., Nakajima, Y., Inoue, K., Nakazawa, H., Nakajin, S. (2003) Genistein administration decreases serum corticosterone and testosterone levels in rats. Life Sci. 74, 733–742.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Ohno, S., Shinoda, S., Toyoshima, S., Nakazawa, H., Makino, T., Nakajin, S. (2002) Effects of flavonoid phytochemicals on Cortisol production and on activities of steroidogenic enzymes in human adrenocortical H295R cells. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 80, 355–363.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Opalka, M., Kaminska, B., Piskula, M. K., Puchajda-Skowronska, H., Dusza, L. (2006) Effects of phytoestrogens on testosterone secretion by Leydig cells from Bilgoraj ganders (Anser anser). Br. Poult. Sci. 47, 237–245.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Peczely, P. (1979) Effect of testosterone and thyroxine on corticosterone and transcortine plasma levels in different bird species. Acta Physiol. Acad. Sci. Hung. 53, 9–15.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Peczely, P., Pethes, G. (1981) Effect of ovariectomy, thyroidectomy and of thyroxine treatment on the plasma level of corticosterone of the female Japanese quail. Acta Biol. Acad. Sci. Hung. 32, 1–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Peczely, P., Daniel, J. Y. (1979) Interactions reciproques testo-thyroido surrenaliennes chez la Caille male. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 39, 164–173.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Peczely, P., el Halawani, M. E., Hargitai, C., Mezes, M., Forgo, V., Janosi, S. (1993) The photore-fractoriness in domestic goose: effects of gonads and thyroid on the development of postbreeding prolactinemia. Acta Biol. Hung. 44, 329–352.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Pethes, G., Peczely, P. (1982) Effect of progesterone, testosterone and oestrogens on the plasma corticosterone and thyroid hormone concentrations in the female Japanese quail. Acta Physiol. Acad. Sci. Hung. 59, 209–215.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Reinli, K., Block, G. (1996) Phytoestrogen content of foods - a compendium literature values. Nutr. Cancer 26, 123–148.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Romero, L. M. (2002) Seasonal changes in plasma glucocorticoid concentrations in free-living vertebrates. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 128, 1–24.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Romero, L. M., Soma, K. K., Wingfield, J. C. (1998) The hypothalamus and adrenal regulate modulation of corticosterone release in redpolls (Carduelis flammea) - an arctic-breeding song bird. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 109, 347–355.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Romero, L. M., Wingfield, J. C. (1998) Seasonal changes in adrenal sensitivity alter corticosterone levels in Gambel’s white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. C. Pharmacol. Toxicol. Endocrinol. 119, 31–36.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Romero, L. M., Wingfield, J. C. (2001) Regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis in free-living pigeons. J. Comp. Physiol. B. 171, 231-235

  30. 30.

    Sharpe, R. M., Cooper, I. (1982) Variation in the steroidogenic responsiveness of isolated rat Leydig cells. J. of Reprod. Fertil. 65, 475–481.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Smulikowska, S. (ed.) (1996) Nutrient Requirements of Domestic Fowl. Polish Academy of Science, The Kielanowski Institute of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, Jablonna, Poland.

    Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Szafranska, B., Ziecik, A., Okrasa, S. (2002) Primary antisera against selected steroids or proteins and secondary antisera against gamma-globulins - an available tool for studies of reproductive processes. Reprod. Biol. 2, 187–204.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Wong, C. K., Keung, W. M. (1999) Bovine adrenal 3P-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (E.C. / 5-ene-4-ene isomerase (E.C. characterisation and its inhibition by isoflavones. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 71, 191–202.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was supported by State Committee for Scientific Research, Poland (projects No 528 0206 0805).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Barbara Kaminska.

Rights and permissions

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kaminska, B., Opalka, M. & Dusza, L. The Effects of Acth, Phytoestrogens and Estrogens on Corticosterone Secretion by Gander Adrenocortical Cells in Breeding and Nonbreeding Seasons. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 59, 173–184 (2008).

Download citation


  • Phytoestrogens
  • adrenals
  • breeding season
  • ganders