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Phytoestrogens are found only in a few plant species. The most important representatives occur in soy beans (genistein) and flax seeds (lignans). They resemble human estrogens in structure, though their activity is much lower (0.1 ). Depending on their concentration and the amount of the body's own estrogens, they may act as week estrogens or, through competitive inhibition of endogenous estrogens, also as antiestrogens (26). By stimulating the synthesis of SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) in the serum, phytoestrogens may contribute to the inhibition of carcinogenesis during the phases of promotion and progression (37). the hormone metabolism, phytoestrogens protect from hormone-related cancer, such as mammary, uterine, and prostate carcinomas, as well as from nonhormone-related ones, such as colon carcinoma (103).
The synthesis of inhibitors from several structural classes has been reported. A review article by Poirier 96 focussing on 17 -HSD inhibitors summarised all known activities on 17 -HSD inhibitors. In addition to giving an up-to-date description of inhibitors of 17 -HSD isoforms 1-8, this review provides information on the isoform selectivity and residual estrogenic or andro-genic activity. Both, derivatives of steroidal and non-steroidal structure, have been described as 17 -HSD inhibitors. Among them are substituted agonists like estrogens, progestins and phytoestrogens, which either irreversibly or reversibly inhibit the 17 -HSD1 (e.g. bromoacetoxy or alkylamide derivatives) 97 .
Polyurethanes have a wide variety of uses, but in terms of mass of material used, polyurethane represents only a small fraction of the synthetic polymer use in medical applications (Lamba et al., 1998) in fact it would seem that PVC is the most common medical polymer, largely due to its use in disposable devices, such as blood tubing and blood storage bags. Other major materials commonly used include polystyrene, polyethylene, and polypropylene. This however, underplays the importance of the polyurethanes where complex mechanical and biocompatibility problems occur polyurethane is often the material of choice. Polyurethane has been used for example as a coating for cardiac pacemaker leads, as a coating for breast implants, in vascular devices, such as intra aortic balloons, and for gastric balloons. It is also often used for catheters and other general purpose tubing. However, in this respect, it should be noted that often the material requirements are rather stringent, particularly...
Above has led to polyurethanes rapidly becoming the materials of choice for uses where the polymer has to be implanted into the body thus uses such as heart valves, dialysis membranes, breast implants, aortic grafts, and bone adhesives have been prepared from polyurethane based systems. The implantation of any polymer into the body is a complex business and there are a range of factors to be considered (Puskas and Chen, 2004), toxicity and stability are of course major ones, others include the effect of sterilization on the material, and whether it react with any medications. In addition, to this the mechanical properties must match the requirements of the biological application and the material must have complete long-term stability for permanent implants, or degrade at the precise rate required for degradable systems. The demands are extremely challenging and numerous approaches have been adopted to meet these demands. Space allows us to mention only a few of these in the following...
Phytoestrogens are foods and herbs that contain plant estrogens as well as isoflavones or lignans. They have a structure that is similar to estrogen. Isoflavone phytoestrogens can bind to estrogen receptors and lower estrogen levels (16). Also, they increase the blood levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), also lowering estrogen levels (17). Phytoestrogens also decrease aromatase, an enzyme involved in estrogen production (18). These foods and herbs encourage the production of good estrogen, the estrogen that does not eclipse progesterone production (19).
Two recent studies demonstrate the utility of ligand-receptor docking approaches. In one study 84 , a series of structural diverse estrogenic compounds, including steroids, phytoestrogens, and polychlorinated biphenyls of known activity, were docked to the crystal structure of estrogen receptor alpha (ERa) and an ERp structural model constructed using homology modeling. In both cases a strong correlation (R2 0.82) was found between values of BE and the relative binding affinity (RBA). Key insights were obtained about mechanisms of action and ligand selectivity. Compounds such as 16a-bromo-17p-estradiol and genistein exhibited selectivity for ERa and ERp, respectively, as may have physiological implications given the known differential tissue distribution of these two ER isoforms. Calculated BE values reflected the observed degree of ERa ERp selectivity for this series of ligands, as indicated by the strong correlation (R2 0.76) between the ratio of RBA values and the ratio of BE...
In the 1980s, it became clear that there were problems with the use of polyurethane, most famously the foamed polyurethane used as the outer casing for breast implants. This material was particularly chosen because it reduced the problem of ''capsular contracture , a common complication in breast augmentation surgery where tissue forming around the implant
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