Zearalenone (ZEN) is a mycotoxin with endocrine disrupting effects having vast economic implications in e.g. pig farming. Structurally, ZEN resembles 17b-estradiol, and thus is able to bind to estrogen receptors (ER) in target cells. Because of this, it is also classified as a non-steroidal estrogen, a phytoestrogen, a mycoestrogen, and a growth promoter. Quantitative proteomic analysis was undertaken using stable-isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) upon exposure of the steroidogenesis cell model H295R with ZEN to elucidate its effect on protein regulation. ZEN significantly regulated 21 proteins, including proteins with known endocrine disrupting effects and several oncogenes. In addition, network analysis using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis showed that ZEN affected the oxidative phosphorylation pathway and the mitochondrial dysfunction pathway, both previously reported to be involved in endocrine dysfunction.
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